Coca-Cola products in North America to be packaged in plant-based containers

Very shortly, Coca-Cola products in North America will be packaged in plant-based containers. Made from mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) derived from sugarcane and molasses, the new PlantBottle will be ready for a North American debut at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. With this, the Coca-Cola Company becomes the first-to-market with a recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants. Coca-Cola says the new packaging helps reduce the company's dependence on petroleum and reduce its carbon footprint, citing preliminary research that indicates a lifecycle carbon advantage for the plant-based bottling product over traditional petroleum-based bottles. The company's long-term vision is to "grow the business, not the carbon," said Cees van Dongan of Coke's global Environment, Health & Safety Council, eventually reaching a net balance of zero waste generated by the company's packaging. Coke says it will continue to monitor and collect lifecycle data about the production of its PlantBottle and post findings when they become available. 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. Coke says the sugar cane waste being used for its bottle production comes from predominantly rain-fed crops that were processed into ethanol, not refined sugar and that they are working with the World Wildlife Fund to promote sustainable sugarcane production in Brazil and elsewhere. The PlantBottle packaging in the North American market will consist of up to 30% plant materials from sugarcane production in Brazil. The remainder of the material will be traditional PET plastic, some proportion of which will likely be post-consumer content. But regional variations in PET consistency cause the percentage of plant material in the bottles to vary from one country to the next.
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