The Coca-Cola Company announced earlier this week that products in its PlantBottle bioplastic packaging are starting to hit the shelves in some parts of the world. The company has a goal of producing 2 billion of the special PET plastic bottles by the end of next year.
PlantBottle PET plastic bottles are made (partially) from plant based material, which the company says will reduce Coca Cola’s dependence on crude oil – from which many plastics are made.
The PlantBottle is 100 percent recyclable and preliminary research has found the carbon footprint for the PlantBottle packaging is smaller than for bottles made with traditional PET says the company.
PlantBottle is made from a by-product of sugar production. The sugar cane being used comes from predominantly crops processed into ethanol, not refined sugar. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to use non-food, plant-based waste, such as wood chips or wheat stalks, to produce recyclable PET plastic bottles. Coca Cola is currently sourcing PlantBottle raw materials from suppliers in Brazil.
The plant based component is up to 30 percent of the resulting PET plastic in PlantBottle packaging. Coca Cola says the amount varies for bottles that also contain recycled PET, which differs from country to country.
It’s an interesting move by the company, but what we really need to see (aside from reduction of consumption) is a cash-back program for bottles and cans around the world.
We have a system in South Australia that works quite well – if I remember correctly, we get a refund of 10 cents per can or bottle returned for recycling, including PET bottles. Bottles and cans laying around don’t stay that way for too long in South Australia :).