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PepsiCo develops first PET plastic bottle made completely from plant-based material

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March 16, 2011

PepsiCo says it has developed the world's first 100 percent plant-based PET bottle

PepsiCo says it has developed the world's first 100 percent plant-based PET bottle

Mountain Dew's green bottles could become even "greener" with an announcement from PepsiCo claiming it has developed the world's first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. The bottle not only offers a significantly reduced carbon footprint compared to petroleum-based PET, but is also 100 percent recyclable.

The company says that by combining biological and chemical processes it has come up with a way to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based PET using plant-based materials, resulting in a bottle that looks and feels identical to current PET bottles. In the future, PepsiCo hopes to expand the renewable resources used to create the bottles to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its food business.

"PepsiCo is in a unique position, as one of the world's largest food and beverage businesses, to ultimately source agricultural byproducts from our foods business to manufacture a more environmentally-preferable bottle for our beverages business," said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi.

With the announcement PepsiCo gets some bragging rights over its main competitor. In comparison, Coca-Cola currently produces bottles that use 30 percent plant-based materials although it says it has produced a 100 percent plant-based bottle in the lab that is still undergoing testing. With both companies producing billions of PET bottles between them each year, the switch from petroleum-based to plant-based PET could have significant environmental impacts.

Over 60 percent of the world's petroleum-based PET production is used as polyester for textile applications, while bottle production – usually for soft drinks – accounts for around 30 percent of global PET demand.

The plant-based bottle isn't the first effort by PepsiCo to move towards more environmentally sustainable packaging. Its Frito-Lay division was also responsible for the world's first fully compostable bag made from plant-based polylactic acid for its SunChips snacks in the U.S. and Canada.

PepsiCo says it will pilot production of the new bottle in 2012 and upon the expected successful completion of the pilot intends to move directly into full-scale commercialization.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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7 Comments

Hopefull we slowly start to produce only recyclable residues.

Facebook User
17th March, 2011 @ 06:06 am PDT

They consume plants to create bottle = They destroy nature for people and that is nature friendly?

I don't think so!

Facebook User
17th March, 2011 @ 08:03 am PDT

If only they had a truly 100% natural drink.

Till then drink Coconut water -- 100% natural and so is the container.

If you would rather drink sugar and chemicals....

sidred
17th March, 2011 @ 10:35 am PDT

Oh, yeah, coconut water, such a green drink. Except that it takes large amounts of fuel to transport whole coconuts from tropical regions, where coconut farming is displacing existing ecosystems. After the coconut water is consumed, the "100% natural" container that comprises most of the transported material gets thrown into the trash. Very environmentally friendly. Not.

Gadgeteer
17th March, 2011 @ 11:42 pm PDT

Guess what? If you consume plants to make bottles, it's no big deal - plants grow. This is not destruction of nature, this is integration with nature.

Oil doesn't grow, at least not without catastrophic anoxic events.

This is a solid advancement towards sustainability.

Biomass is the real fountain of value.

CLGroves
23rd March, 2011 @ 01:56 am PDT

As long as these people stick to using biomass it will be fine. But growing

plants and again cutting out the area for agriculture would not be

acceptable Oil doesn't grow, but other than that we are already over-exploiting

mostly every resource of earth.

Prateek Jain
25th March, 2011 @ 10:56 am PDT

Prateek, read the article again. They want to use, among other things, switchgrass, pine bark and corn husks. Switchgrass is often used to prevent soil erosion in areas where crops can't be planted. Bark and husks are waste products from lumber and corn that would otherwise be wasted. If anything, they're currently underexploited, not overexploited.

Gadgeteer
3rd April, 2011 @ 07:35 am PDT
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