Aquafina water bottles are getting an eco-friendly makeover

Say peace out to plastic.
Aquafina in cans
Getty Images/PepsiCo

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/ Source: TODAY
By Lyn Mettler

Thirsty? Why not just crack open a can ... of still water?

PepsiCo just announced that it will start rolling out its popular Aquafina water in aluminum cans in 2020. As concern about global, non-recyclable waste mounts, the move comes as the brand's biggest attempt to reduce single-use plastic containers.

PepsiCo, Inc.

Aluminum is easier to recycle than many materials and is already recycled more often than other similar packaging types, according to the Aluminum Association.

PepsiCo says that this change, along with its current distribution of Lifewtr (which is available in 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate), and removing plastic packaging from its new flavored water Bubly, is "expected to eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and approximately 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions," according to a company press release.

In 2015, the U.S. generated 34.5 million tons of plastics with landfills receiving about 26 million tons of that total, according to the Environmental Production Agency (EPA). So while Pepsi's goal is noble, it's a pretty small dent in the overall amount of plastics that need to be recycled.

PepsiCo's goal is to make all of its product packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

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Pepsi says it will begin offering 12-ounce cans of Aquafina at food service outlets like work places, hospitals, restaurants and colleges, as well as as testing it with retailers. The company expects the first rollout will be completed by the end of 2020, at which point executives will consider larger sized cans in the future.

Aquafina has come under fire in the past for using municipal sources of water from public reservoirs, though many people were led to believe the water came from a natural source like a spring.

But is the world ready for canned still water? PepsiCo executives definitely think so.

"Many consumers are open to this and looking for solutions outside of plastic," Stacy Taffet, vice president of the water portfolio for PepsiCo told TODAY Food by email. "Our goal is to provide options and to ensure we are staying ahead of consumer trends."

Folks on Twitter have a lot to say about the possible switch, with some voicing concerns that liquids in cans just taste differently. Others have noted that there won't be a way to put a cap on the new can, meaning each canned serving will have to be finished in one sitting.

Still, plenty of eco-conscious commenters are applauding the move.

Aluminum cans do actually help keep liquid quite cold (more so than plastic), which is an added bonus of drinking water from an eco-friendly can.

Aquafina isn't the first brand of water to be available in a canned drinking vessel, either.

Open Water uses aluminum for its beverages and offers both a traditional 12-ounce can, as well as a larger bottle-shaped "can" with a screw-top cap.

Open Water

There's also CannedWater4Kids, a nonprofit that sells canned drinking water and donates a big portion of its proceeds to clean water programs.

And just like boxed wine and juice cartons, there are also paper cartons of drinking water.

Boxed Water is one company which offers the boxed alternative in three sizes, ranging from the 250-milliliter size (which looks like a milk carton) to a full liter.

Amazon

When it comes to drinking water, it looks like we'll have plenty of options as companies try to become more eco-friendly in the near future.