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Coca-Cola to develop commercial solutions for all-plant-made plastic bottles

Following an in-depth two year analysis of different technologies by The Coca-Cola Company’s R&D team and technical advisory board,

the Coca-Cola Company is joining forces with three leading biotechnology companies to accelerate development of the first commercial solutions for next-generation PlantBottle packaging made 100% from plant-based materials.

The three partner companies are Virent, Gevo and Avantium, which specializes in developing plant-based alternatives to materials traditionally made from fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources.

“While the technology to make bio-based materials in a lab has been available for years, we believe Virent, Gevo and Avantium are companies that possess technologies that have high potential for creating them on a global commercial scale within the next few years,” said Rick Frazier, Vice President, Commercial Product Supply, The Coca-Cola Company. “This is a significant R&D investment in packaging innovation and is the next step toward our vision of creating all of our plastic packaging from responsibly sourced plant-based materials.”

According to Coca-Cola, this effort to commercialize a plastic bottle made entirely from plants builds on its ground-breaking introduction and roll-out of its first generation PlantBottle package which was the first ever recyclable PET beverage bottle made partially from plants. Since introduced in 2009, Coca-Cola has distributed more than 10 billion PlantBottle packages in 20 countries worldwide.

The Coca-Cola Company’s first generation PlantBottle packaging is said to be the only fully recyclable PET bottle made with up to 30% plant-based material available today. PlantBottle packaging is made up of two components: MEG (mono-ethylene glycol), which makes up 30% of the PET, and is already made from plant materials, and PTA (purified terephthalic acid), which makes up the other 70%. In this next step, PTA will be replaced with plant-based materials, too.

Coca-Cola, which aims to use PlantBottle packaging for its entire virgin PET supply by 2020, estimates the use of PlantBottle packaging in the first two years has helped save the equivalent annual emissions of more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

In an earlier partnership, Coca-Cola allows Heinz to produce its ketchup bottles using PlantBottle technology, and the Heinz PlantBottle packaging was launched this summer in the US.

Separately, Coca-Cola produces a fully recyclable HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic that is made 100% from plant material and is available through Odwalla juice brand products. As said, HDPE is suitable for some refrigerated juice products but not shelf-stable carbonated and still beverages.


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