Last Wednesday, Coca-Cola debuted its new PlantBottle at the Expo Milano food technology conference. The bottle, like any you’d find at your local convenience store, is still made of plastic. However, this plastic is derived not from petroleum but from sugar cane.
The first iteration of the PlantBottle was introduced in 2009. This version was comprised of 30 percent plant materials and has since been distributed in over 40 countries and over 35 billion bottles. According to Coca-Cola, PlantBottles have reduced the company’s carbon emissions by an estimated 319,000 metric tons (equivalent to 36 million gallons of gasoline).
The PlantBottle that premiered at the Expo Milano this past week is made of 100 percent sugar cane-derived plastic, and Coca-Cola has said its goal is to exclusively use this green packaging in its bottles by 2020.
“The Coca-Cola company is determined to lead the consumer packaged goods industry away from its dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and towards using renewable plant-based alternatives,” the company said. “It hasn’t been an easy task, but it shows our commitment to doing the right thing in the right way.”
The company currently uses PlantBottle packaging “in a variety of packaging sizes across water, sparkling, juice and tea beverage brands” and has even partnered with Ford, Heinz, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld to license their PlantBottle Technology for their products. The Ford Motor Company, for instance, is using PlantBottle packaging in the fabric interior of its Fusion Energi hybrid sedan. Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, meanwhile, use PlantBottle packaging in their recyclable plastic cups. Heinz has been using PlantBottle tech in its ketchup bottles since 2011.
“Once we fully realized the power of PlantBottle Technology, we knew it had real-world, global applications well beyond our own products,” said Scott Vitters, general manager, PlantBottle Packaging Innovation Platform, in late 2014. “These collaborations demonstrate that this technology can be used across the entire polyester universe – in everything from the inside of a car, to carpet, to clothing – and with a lighter footprint on the planet.”