GLOBAL – Coca-Cola says its eco-PET bottle made from 100% plant-based material could be produced on the commercial global scale within five or six years.
To enable this, the global beverage giant has signed multi-million partnerships with three biotechnology companies – Wisconsin, US-based Virent, Colorado’s Gevo, and Avantium from Netherlands – to secure material supply for its recyclable PlantBottle, which is currently made from 30% plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) and 70% purified terephthalic acid (PTA).
Coca-Cola says it is bidding to use PlantBottle packaging – first introduced in 2009 – for its entire virgin PET supply by 2020. So far, more than 10 billion PlantBottle packages have been distributed in 20 countries.
“Based on our research in this area, we estimate initial commercially viable, sustainable, cost effective 100% PlantBottle PET packaging material availability in the next five to six years from a variety of potential biomass feedstocks,” said a company spokesperson.
“A variety of materials, including Brazilian sugarcane, molasses and plant residual material will be evaluated.”
The immediate task at hand, says Coke, is not so much technology development as scaling up from the laboratory to meet global demand.
“As with our bottle that’s currently in market, the plant materials used to create the bottle will be selected based on sustainability criteria to ensure they do not compete with food crops and are capable of delivering improved environmental performance,” the spokesperson added.
Virent’s technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based sugars into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including bio-based paraxylene. Gevo produces paraxylene from bio-based isobutanol, while Avantium’s patented ‘YXY’ technology produces bio-based PEF bottles.