Can the PlantBottle Revolutionize Plastic Packaging?

Each and every day of the year, people consume 1.5 billion Coca-Cola products.  And they hope to double that number over the next decade.

This leaves Coke, like other beverage companies, with a significant problem. These hundreds of billions of bottles, made of petroleum-based plastics, constitutes the major part of the company’s carbon footprint.

Behold the PlantBottle. Made of up to 22.5% bioethanol derived from sugarcane and 25% recycled plastic, Coke says that the PlantBottle has the potential to revolutionize not just their company, but the whole beverage packaging industry. It uses far less carbon to produce and is both more recyclable and more biodegradable than standard polyethylene terepthalate (PET) plastic bottles.

First introduced at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009, by the end of 2011, the 5 billionth 500-ml PlantBottle will have rolled off the production line. It has already been introduced in 20 markets around the world and last week arrived on shelves in the UK. The PlantBottle doesn’t look or feel any different than

“This isn’t about an innovation that’s just a little green widget or flavor of the day,” Coke’s Director of Sustainable Packaging Scott Vitters tells the UK’s Guardian newspaper. “We are taking the next step of the journey to decouple plastics from fossil fuel.”

To that end, the company is showing an openness to sharing their new technology with Heinz, Toyota…and even with their arch-rivals at Pepsi.

“This,” Vitters says, “is bigger than Coke. We believe that our competition will need to be part of this journey.”

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