‘Recycle for Nature’ to Benefit The Colorado River

New partnership between PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy aims to increase recycling, protect drinking water

July 31, 2014

The Colorado River—the lifeline of the Southwest—will benefit from a new partnership announced by PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy today.  As part of the partnership called “Recycle for Nature,” PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy are joining forces to expand the availability of recycling bins in the U.S. while encouraging consumers to recycle more often to help protect drinking water sources throughout the country. PepsiCo will support The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect drinking water in five key areas that supply water to more than 35 million people through some of the nation’s most populated and beautiful waterways. The Colorado River is among these sites. 

The Colorado River, which spans seven western states and Mexico, supplies drinking water to nearly 36 million people, irrigates more than 4 million acres of farmland, provides power to the region’s cities, and supports a thriving $26 billion recreation and tourism industry. Yet, population growth and extended drought are taking a toll on this lifeline as demands currently exceed supply. 

“This partnership allows us to move more quickly with our conservation strategies, such as testing new irrigation technologies and developing a regional water bank, which saves unused water for later use,” said Taylor Hawes, The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River program director. “All of this work will help ensure a healthy Colorado River now and into the future.” 

While on-the-ground strategies are being tested along the 1,450-mile river and its tributaries, the Conservancy is working with policy makers and water managers to develop science-based solutions that work for cities, agriculture, industry and the environment.

“Rivers need a voice and the Conservancy is delivering that,” Hawes said. “By working together and raising awareness with partners like Pepsi, we can find better ways to manage our water, benefitting both people and nature.” 

As a key component of “Recycle for Nature,” PepsiCo will expand the availability of recycling bins in the U.S., beginning where they are needed most—at gas stations and convenience stores. According to a PepsiCo national survey, 81 percent of Americans say they would recycle beverage containers at a retail location if proper bins were available1. At away-from-home locations, recycling bins are available only 12 percent of the time2

“Most consumers want to recycle when they’re away from home—there just aren’t enough convenient places to do it,” said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. “This is a huge opportunity that has been largely unaddressed until now. The easier we can make it to recycle, the more likely people are to recycle. By giving consumers the added incentive of helping protect our water sources, we can make an impact.” 

Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, said, “As our population and economies grow, already-stressed water sources will face unprecedented pressure. Protecting the rivers that provide clean, reliable water for people and nature is one of the smartest investments that forward-thinking companies can make.”    

“Recycle for Nature” will provide consumers the chance to directly drive drinking water conservation efforts by recycling more often. For every one point increase in the U.S. beverage container recycling rate each year, PepsiCo will make an additional donation to The Nature Conservancy with the goal of reaching up to $1 million total each year for five years. The goal is to save and restore one billion gallons of water over five years in rivers that supply water to more than 35 million people across nine states, including:  

This project is being done as part of PepsiCo’s collaboration with Walmart to increase recycling and investment in the Closed Loop Fund. The Fund is a program that will provide financing to municipalities and other organizations whose goal is to provide people access to recycling when and where they need it. PepsiCo is now tackling both on-the-go and curbside recycling as part of its goal to help drive the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018. The U.S. beverage container recycling rate is currently at 42 percent according to the American Beverage Association. 

PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy will kick off the partnership by expanding a pilot program that PepsiCo has been running in Tulsa, Okla., since 2012 in collaboration with Kum & Go convenience stores and gas stations. The goal for this near-term expansion is to drive a tenfold increase in the number of recycling bins in the area. Through its large presence in all 50 states and more than one million active members, the Conservancy will help raise awareness of recycling and increase recycling efforts in their local communities in partnership with PepsiCo. 

1Survey results of 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over conducted by The Omnibus Company on behalf of PepsiCo 

2 Littering Behavior in America National Study, Keep America Beautiful, 2009 

Learn more online:

PepsiCo’s Commitment to Water

As part of its ongoing commitment to help protect and conserve global water supplies, PepsiCo has reduced its water usage at its production plants by more than 20 percent per unit since 2006. And by teaming with partners around the globe, it has provided access to safe, clean drinking water for three million people. Its achievements were recognized with the Stockholm Industry Water Award and the U.S. Water Prize in 2012. Given the company's strong progress, in 2013 PepsiCo announced a new commitment to provide access to safe water to an additional three million people over the next three years through continued partnerships with water organizations, doubling the company's original goal. 

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2013, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. 

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth in shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

PepsiCo’s Commitment to Recycling

As a part of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s goal to deliver sustained value to shareholders and stakeholders, the company is committed to increasing the recyclability of its packaging. Since 2010, PepsiCo has added more than 5,000 recycling systems across North America through recycling programs in more than 41 states. In 2013, PepsiCo invested in support for the operation and delivery of our recycling programs, increasing the total amount of material recycled to more than 18 million pounds and 324 million containers since 2010. 

The company has also undertaken several other initiatives, including: 

Closed Loop Fund
PepsiCo recently collaborated with Walmart and a number of other companies to establish a Closed Loop Fund that will help finance recycling programs to divert valuable raw materials from landfill. The Fund aims to invest $100 million in recycling infrastructure projects and spur private and public funding for transforming the recycling system in the United States. The Fund will provide loans to municipalities and other organizations to fund innovative ideas to reach the goal of providing 100 percent of U.S. households with access to recycling where and when they need it. 


School Recycle Rally
PepsiCo has been working with K-12 schools through its Recycle Rally program since 2010. The program helps teach K-12 students valuable lessons about the importance of recycling and improving our environment while providing the opportunity for valuable rewards and prizes to green their schools. Since the program began, almost 1,000 schools have participated in 35 different states and approximately 42.5 million containers have been collected. 

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans
Since 2010, PepsiCo has donated $1.5 million dollars to support the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) through 2013. Through its partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, PepsiCo has helped many veterans receive valuable training in entrepreneurship and small business management so they can build their own business and pursue their dreams. Every bottle and can recycled in a PepsiCo bin makes it possible for the company to donate funds to the EBV. Over 4.3 million pounds of recycled bottles and cans have been collected via PepsiCo Recycling to support the EBV.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy

Vincent Bozek


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