From the Wall Street Journal:
The latest front in the soda wars: high-tech water fountains.
Longtime rivals Coca-Cola and Pepsi are dotting college campuses and workplaces across the country with machines that dispense cold, filtered water—and can add bubbles and flavors on demand. But the customers have to supply the bottles.
The soda giants are among the biggest bottled-water sellers in the country, with brands such as Dasani, Aquafina, smartwater and Lifewtr – all packaged in PET, the plastic used to make soda and water bottles. Attitudes toward plastic waste are shifting, though, so the two companies are planning for a future where single-use plastic bottles may be banned.
The new dispensers are part of broader efforts at both companies to respond to the mounting public concerns about plastic waste. PepsiCo last year bought SodaStream – a maker of countertop machines that carbonate tap water – in a $3.2 billion deal. And PepsiCo's Drinkfinity brand sells reusable plastic bottles with capsules that add flavors to water. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, is rolling out 100% recycled plastic bottles in Western Europe and is exploring adding an aluminum option for its Dasani water brand in North America. Both companies have pledged to help increase plastic recycling rates.