December 7, 2009

The Innovative PLANTBOTTLE™" is on the way

"It's the real thing!" . . . or is it?

The Coca-Cola Company recently announced that Coke and Dasani water bottles will begin to arrive on store shelves in select markets in its innovative PlantBottle™ packaging. They call it the "first generation of PET plastic made partially from plants." The company has a goal of producing 2 billion of these special PET plastic bottles by the end of 2010, reducing their dependence on that non-renewable resource, petroleum..

They are already in use throughout Denmark. "A variety of products, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fresca and DASANI will be in Western Canada in the PlantBottle beginning in December and for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. And for select markets in the Western United States, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, PlantBottle packaging will be used for sparkling brands and DASANI in several sizes, starting in January. Future launches are being planned in other markets, including Brazil, Japan and Mexico and for China's Shanghai Expo in 2010."

"PlantBottle packaging is currently made through a process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic. The sugar cane being used comes from predominantly rain-fed crops that were processed into ethanol, not refined sugar. Ultimately, the Company's goal is to use non-food, plant-based waste, such as wood chips or wheat stalks, to produce recyclable PET plastic bottles.

While the bio-based component can account for up to 30 percent of the resulting PET plastic in PlantBottle packaging, the percentage varies for bottles that also contain recycled PET. For example, Denmark uses recycled content in its PlantBottle packaging. The combined plant-based and recycled content makes up 65 percent of the material, with 50 percent coming from recycled material and 15 percent from plant-based material.

For the PlantBottle packaging in the United States and Canada, up to 30 percent of the content in the PET plastic comes from plants."

The news release states that they will be "100 percent recyclable," but I can't get my head around that claim. If they contain 30 percent sugar cane and molasses, how can they be recycled with traditional PET bottles? Would not that contaminate the end product?