Coke goes greener by bio-sourcing its bottle PET

A partly bio-sourced PET bottle is being introduced by Coca-Cola in a long term plan to use bottles that are 100 per cent recyclable and renewable. The first “PlantBottle” will be piloted in North America later this year for the Dasani and sparkling water brands and will be used for vitaminwater next year.


     The PET is made with monoethylene glycol sourced from sugar cane and sugar by-products in Brazil and India. This gives it a renewably-sourced content of 30 per cent. It is Coca-Cola’s aim to extend its bio-sourcing to include other materials such as wood chips, corn stover or wheat stalks and develop multiple sourcing across various geographies. A representative from the company told British Plastics & Rubber: “We are exploring global partnerships to develop supply chains to provide us with bio-based materials to help achieve our long term goal. That said, we do not expect to change our bottle making or filling supply chains or locations.”
     Production of the PlantBottle has been analysed by Imperial College in London which concluded that the life cycle of the initial 30 per cent renewable-content version represented a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions over the standard conventional PET bottle.
     The PET made with bio-sourced MEG is compatible with standard PET in the recycling loop, says the company, so will not cause contamination of recycled PET “unlike other plant-based plastics”.
     When the new bottle goes on sale it will be identified through on-package messages and in-store point of sale displays. Web-based communications will also highlight the bottles’ environmental benefits.
     “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 has made itself prominent in the use of recycled materials for beverage bottles and earlier this year opened the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. The plant will produce approximately 45,000 tonnes of recycled PET each year – the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20 ounce Coca-Cola bottles.