Producing 4 Pounds of Juice Releases 3.75 Pounds of Carbon

This is not about design, this is about the environment. I don’t need to add any of my own carbon emissions to the atmosphere by fuming about the new design of the Tropicana juice package. As I said earlier this week about the Pepsi redesign, time will tell, and consumers will speak for themselves.tropicana-carton

Apparently Tropicana has become the first U.S. brand to be Carbon Trust certified. This has been widely reported recently including in Packaging World’s eClip newsletter yesterday. I realize that this is my second post about Pepsico products this week, but I sincerely applaud the effort to begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the company. Working with The Earth Institute at Columbia University (, PepsiCo calculated the life-cycle carbon footprint of its 64-oz container of Tropicana using the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050 guidelines.  

Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo was quoted as saying, “PepsiCo’s partnership with the Carbon Trust is a significant step in our environmental sustainability journey. As part of our company-wide ‘Performance with Purpose’ initiative, we are committed to reducing our overall environmental impact. Understanding what contributes to the carbon footprint of our products is critical both to achieving our sustainability commitments and to driving efficiency gains across our global business.”

The really shocking thing about this article was the conclusion. Using the Carbon Trust process of measuring life cycle data, mapping the product life cycle, from growing and squeezing the oranges and getting the container on the shelves, to finally disposing of or recycling the packaging, the estimated carbon footprint for the 64-oz carton of Tropicana is 1.7 kilograms. That is essentially equal to the weight of the juice in the package! 

The only good news for package designers is that apparently the package itself only accounted for 15% of the carbon emissions. Still seems like a lot of carbon. Makes you wonder what the carbon foot print of bottled water might be versus drinking tap. 


This data was reported in yesterday’s Packaging World eClip Newsletter,


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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