Coca Cola have released a prototype bottle which is made from 100% plant-based plastic which is now ready to be commercially scaled across the entire industry. The entire bottle, excluding the bottle and lid is made up of renewable plant-based resources while removing all petroleum from the bottle.
Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are made from fossil fuels every year which is a big reason for the climate crisis currently. A lot of these plastics are not recycled and contributes majorly to the ocean’s pollution today. The plastic being discussed with Coca Cola plastic bottles uses no fossil fuels and can also be recycled as well as having very attractive sustainability credentials. 14% of all litter from plastic bottles and drinks containers take up to 450 years to decompose but the bottles should be 100% recyclable by the separation of the PEF and paper meaning they are able to return to the recycling stream as mono materials.
The plant used in the plastic would eventually decompose after a year inside a composter where it would last longer outside in normal conditions. The major water company, Evian, have achieved carbon neutrality simply by using recycled PET causing a 50% decrease in greenhouse emissions. In their 2019 sustainability report, Coca Cola managed to achieve 16 markets while offering 100% recycled PET bottles while also having a bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the Philippines. There is also a new programme called Every Bottle Back which includes a $100million industry fund. This would be used when improving multiple areas when it does come to recycling in areas with large infrastructure gaps and increases the amount of plastic that is able to be reuses into the new plastic bottles.
The plan is to break down the plant sugars into chemical structures which can later be formed into a new plant-based plastic which could be in supermarkets globally as early as 2023. The Path Finder Project will produce 5000 tonnes of plastic by using corn or wheat but they expect to use plant sugars from biowaste so the continuous growth of plant plastic will not affect the global food chain. The company say that it is a giant step in reducing virgin oil-based PET from all commercially made bottles. Over 900 of the prototype bottles have been produced and Coca Cola say that the pack is recyclable and is able to be recycled bottle to bottle with recycling infrastructure.
They also set a goal to use 3 million tonnes less of virgin plastic from oil based sourced by 2025 and would approximately be 20% less virgin plastic taken from fossil fuels than in todays age. To reach this goal however, the company have said they will need to invest in better packaging improvements such as more recycling technologies, exploring other business models such as dispensed, refillable and fountain systems, light weighting and developing new renewable materials. Coca Cola also stated they aim to make all their packaging 50% from recyclable material as well as making their packaging overall being 100% recyclable.
In countries such as Japan and in Europe, Coca Cola aim to eradicate the use of virgin oil-based PET from all their plastic bottles by 2030 and exchange them with recyclable materials. Renewable technologies are going to play a major role in supporting this target.
Much of the company’s packaging material would have come from recycled content, there will still be need for some virgin material to maintain packaging quality. They are also investing to boost supplies from feedstock from various renewable technologies as well as enhanced recycling technologies. The new bottle is made up of paraxylene which has been converted to the plant based terephthalic acid and the bPX used for the bottle is produced by using sugar from corn. With Coca Cola working alongside their PlantBottle, it has introduced non - competitive companies such as Ford and Heinz to use the brand and technology within their products. During 2018, they opened the PlantBottle IP much more broadly to similar competitors to drive the pricing down.
Coca Cola are making sure all their packaging is sustainable which will include maximising the use of recyclable and renewable materials with using as little virgin materials as possible. For every bottle they sell, they have pledged to collect back the equivalent of every bottle by 2030 to ensure that old bottles are recycled into new ones and ensuring no packaging ends up as plastic waste. Furthermore, they aim to ensure that their packaging is recyclable and that at least 50% of the packaging is from recycled material.
Their target is to use 3 million less tonnes of various virgin plastic from oil-based resources by 2025. This is obviously great news as it is important, now more than ever, we move towards a more green – conscious civilisation.