SodaStream, a truly ecological solution?

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Valery Aloyants
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Israeli manufacturer SodaStream offers a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles of sparkling water and soft drinks with its reusable beverage carbonation machine. Greenwashing or real ecological interest?



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At a time when ecological issues are more central than ever, SodaStream, acquired by PepsiCo in 2018, has taken up these questions to highlight its famous soda machine.



Since 2018, the specialist in the manufacture of beverage carbonating devices has been tackling waste issues in its advertising campaigns (see below) and offering a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles of sparkling water and soft drinks.


2018 advertising campaign © SodaStream

In the TV commercial, we see a little girl teaching her father a lesson: "When you carry packs of water, you insult the whole earth."

The Israeli company indeed feels legitimate to fight the misdeeds of single-use plastic since the goal of SodaStream is to fill with the same bottle (plastic or glass, depending on the model chosen) the tap water to make sparkling water or sodas. "An average family (4 people) uses around 1 bottles every 600 years while a SodaStream bottle is reusable for 3 years if it is carbonated and usable for life if it is used as non-carbonated" , says SodaStream.

According to a statement from the brand, 270 million single-use mineral water bottles were not purchased in 2019 thanks to users of SodaStream machines (a calculation based on the number of cylinders sold or reconditioned in the year ).


We prefer to talk about an alternative to plastic bottles than of ecology, because there are still efforts to be made on the part of the group.


SodaStream

If the speech does indeed seem rather coherent, what about the gas cartridge, which turns out to be covered with aluminum? In fact, each device benefits from a CO2 cylinder which, according to the Israeli company, can produce up to 60 liters of sparkling drink, directly with tap water. This cylinder is reusable, just exchange it in store. "Empty gas cylinders are sent to SodaStream to then be refilled and therefore returned to the market." No reason to have to throw away your own gas cartridge once it has been emptied. "An initiative and an effort that we salute", confirms Valentine Cancel of the Zero Waste association.


At the back of the device is the famous gas cylinder covered with aluminum.

PepsiCo takeover: the Achilles heel of SodaStream?

Where the shoe pinches is concerning the Pepsi and 7Up taste refills, launched last April and allowing you to make sodas, simply by integrating them into the SodaStream: "These refills are equipped with plastic packaging and these bottles are not recyclable. As a result, there is a lot of waste. " Especially since in just four months, SodaStream and PepsiCo recorded a sale of more than 200 of these concentrates… "We are warning about this point because this is nonsense in view of SodaStream's economic model which aims to be ecological ", explains Valentine Cancel, who says she does not understand" why the reconditioning system is not the same as with gas cylinders ". Especially since PepsiCo is one of the main polluters in the world, which probably wanted to redeem an image by partnering with SodaStream.



The famous PepsiCo concentrates for making sodas. © SodaStream

If taste refills are the main Achilles heel of Israeli society, it is clear that SodaStream seems to want to put all the chances on its side to maintain an "green" image. If today the company produces more than 30 million bottles of concentrate each year with a production that increases with double-digit growth, SodaStream told us to end plastic in packaging by 2021 with containers that will be now in metal. A change which should, according to the firm, save nearly 200 million additional single-use plastic bottles in 5 years.

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