The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola company has unveiled a new container technology it calls PlantBottle — a fully recyclable PET plastic bottle containing up to 30 percent organic material. Specifically, the organic material being used in the initial run of bottles is a byproduct of sugar cane processing, though it seems other organic material could also be used. Coke is pitching the new containers as beneficial to the environment (its production requires a smaller carbon footprint) and a means of reducing petroleum dependency.
According to a Coke press release, the amount of organic material that can be used in the production of new bottles must be adjusted depending on how much recycled PET is also being used. “For example,” it says, “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.”
The ability to recycle PlantBottle alongside regular old PET certainly would seem to give it an advantage over Polylactic acid (PLA) and other environmentally friendly plastic alternatives. But it may take time to fully grasp any potential downsides of the technology.