Coca Cola introduces plastic bottle made from renewable, recyclable and plant-based resource

Packaging Production

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Coca Cola unveiled a new plastic bottle made partially from plants
The Coca-Cola Company recently unveiled a new plastic bottle made partially from plants.  The PlantBottle is claimed to be fully recyclable, has a lower reliance on a non-renewable resource, and reduces carbon emissions compared with petroleum-based PET plastic bottles. It is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30% plant-based materials.
The company has put resources behind creating packaging that is recyclable and has invested in recycling infrastructure to ensure that its packages are collected, recycled and re-used. The recently opened plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina will produce approximately 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic for reuse each year — the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. These efforts are all focused on helping “close the loop” on packaging use and produce sustainable packages. “The PlantBottle is a significant development in sustainable packaging innovation,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola. “It builds on our legacy of environmental ingenuity and sets the course for us to realize our vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100% recyclable and renewable.” The PlantBottle is currently made through an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic.

Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well.  A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the PlantBottle with 30% plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25%, compared with petroleum-based PET. Another advantage to these plastic bottles is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET.  So, the material in the PlantBottle can be used, recycled and reused.

“The PlantBottle represents the next step in evolving our system toward the bottle of the future,” said Scott Vitters, Director of Sustainable Packaging of The Coca-Cola Company.  “This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable.” Coca-Cola North America will pilot the PlantBottle in select markets later this year and with vitamin-water in 2010.

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