PepsiCo Introduces Climate-Friendly Vending Machines

Pilot program will test CO2-cooled refrigeration system in Washington, D.C. area
Posted March 31, 2009

Under a new pilot program, PepsiCo (Purchase, N.Y.) plans to test the first naturally cooled vending machines in the U.S. using 30 Pepsi-Cola vending machines in the Washington, D.C. area. The machines, featuring the new Pepsi logo along with a special green refrigerant sticker, use carbon dioxide (CO2), a natural refrigerant, instead of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The units also consume less energy and generate 12 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than current vending machines.

"Many people don't realize that the largest part of a vending machine's greenhouse gas emissions – about 95 percent, in fact – come from the energy required to run it," says Robert Lewis, vp, packaging and equipment development for PepsiCo. "The insulating foam and refrigerant gases are responsible for the rest, and we're committed to reducing all parts of the equation."

The project is part of PepsiCo.’s effort to reduce its environmental footprint by lowering water and energy usage by 20 percent and fuel consumption by 25 percent by 2015. To accomplish this, the beverage company is focusing on energy, insulating foam and refrigerants.

The brand’s 2008 model vending machines meet EPA Energy Star requirements and use 51 percent less energy than 2003 models. Its 2008 coolers consume 44 percent less energy than their 2004 counterparts. In addition, PepsiCo was also the first in the industry to mandate that the foam used to insulate its vending machines and coolers be free of HFCs.

Through these improvements, the company says it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration equipment by 598,000 metric tons. PepsiCo is also conducting tests of other green refrigerants, including isobutane and propane.

"We're constantly looking for ways to make our business more efficient and environmentally sustainable," says Lewis. "This field test will help us evaluate the performance and reliability of these new machines in a real-world environment. We hope to get a sneak preview of what sustainable refrigeration could look like on a larger scale."