The Coca-Cola Company today unveiled the world’s first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant materials at the World Expo — Milan.
PlantBottle packaging is Coca-Cola’s vision to develop a more responsible plant-based alternative to packaging traditionally made from fossil fuels and other non-renewable materials. PlantBottle packaging uses patented technology that converts natural sugars found in plants into the ingredients for making PET plastic bottles. The packaging looks, functions and recycles like traditional PET but has a lighter footprint on the planet and its scarce resources.
Nancy Quan, Coke’s Global Research and Development Officer, said, “Today is a pioneering milestone within our Company’s packaging portfolio. Our vision was to maximize game-changing technology, using responsibly sourced plant-based materials to create the globe’s first fully recyclable PET plastic bottle made entirely from renewable materials.”
In November 2013, Coca-Cola teamed up with Danone, Ford, Heinz, Nestlé, Nike, P&G, Unilever and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to form the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), a coalition supporting the responsible development of plastics made from plant material and promoting a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry. BFA focused on guiding the responsible selection and harvesting of feedstocks — such as sugar cane, corn, bulrush and switchgrass — used to make plastics from agricultural materials.
WWF’s Sustainable Research and Development Manager, Erin Simon, said: “With every technological advance made in the bioplastic industry comes the opportunity to continue to scale the impact of more sustainable production for the materials we depend on today.
“We’re working with major companies around the world, including The Coca-Cola Company, to consider all the trade-offs involved with plant-based plastics. We all want to make sure that as we shift from fossil fuel-based feedstocks to biobased feedstocks for materials, we provide net positive solutions without putting additional strain on precious land and water resources.”
“Plant-based plastics, if responsibly produced, allow us to continue to benefit from the tremendous value that plastics provide but without the negative environmental effects of using fossil fuels,” Simon added.
Coke’s new PlantBottle packaging uses sugarcane and waste from the sugarcane manufacturing process; both materials meet the Company’s established sustainability criteria used to identify plant-based ingredients for PlantBottle material, which include demonstrating improved environmental and social performance as well as avoiding negative impacts on food security.
PlantBottle can be used for a variety of packaging sizes and across water, sparkling, juice and tea beverage brands. Since the 2009 launch, Coke has distributed more than 35 billion bottles in nearly 40 countries using its original PlantBottle packaging, which is made from up to 30 percent plant-based materials. The company estimates the use of PlantBottle packaging since launch has helped save the equivalent annual emissions of more than 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.