In 2009, Coca-Cola introduced its first PlantBottle, a packaging used by many of the company’s core brands, that are 30% sourced from renewable materials. The PlantBottle 1.0 materials originate from sugar cane produced in Brazil, with the remainder being 70% PET. According to packaging news sources, the company is working to develop a bio PTA, or purified terephthalic acid, with Virent and Gevo in this effort to increase the usage of packaging made of materials that are 100% recycled and renewable.
Since 2009, Coca-Cola has developed its PlantBottle 2.0, which the company will unveil at Expo Milano 2015, a Universal Exhibition hosted in Italy beginning in May of this year, and continuing through October. The PlantBottle 2.0 is a biobased packaging that is 100% natural, and set to hit store shelves in 2020 if plans go as scheduled. Coca-Cola Europe Environmental Sustainability head, Klaus Stadler, said the company hopes to use the PlantBottle technology for the company’s entire supply of virgin PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, by 2020. Stadler went on to say that Coca-Cola is the largest user of bioplastics in the world, with this recyclable packaging making up 60% of the packaging used by the company.
Stadler said in an article at Packaging Digest that “A recycling component is necessary to address the problem of littering,” and that Coca-Cola is targeting for a future in which packaging will be produced using recycled materials and renewable sources, making the use of oil-based materials unnecessary. In addition, Coca-Cola is the official soft drink partner of Expo Milano 2015.
Ultimately, Stadler believes it will be about five to eight years before bio-PTA becomes available in commercial quantities. He said that PlantBottle packaging, because it is derived from plants, drives brand love and value, and drives volume. Essentially, companies who use the packaging sell to consumers’ emotions, and plants are often equated with happiness. Coca-Cola licensed their PlantBottle technology to H.J. Heinz in 2011, and while the company still faces numerous challenges to achieve commercialization with its PlantBottle 2.0, they are taking some of the investments outside of the EU due to market and regulatory uncertainties and agriculture protection laws.
At REA JET, we understand the need for renewable and recyclable packaging sources, and that reducing the amount of litter and waste is critical to the earth and environment. Regardless of the type of packaging manufacturers use in producing their products, we provide industrial coding and marking solutions that are reliable and cost-effective. We applaud Coca-Cola for its efforts in developing 100% biobased packaging!