In 2009, Coca-Cola introduced the world to PlantBottle™ packaging, which is PET plastic made from up to 30% plant-based materials, is fully recyclable, and meets the quality requirements of our core beverages. To date, Coca-Cola has distributed over 45 billion PlantBottle packages in 44 markets across 35 brands. Use of PlantBottle packaging has saved more than 48 million gallons of gas (petroleum is used to produce virgin PET), and also eliminated more than 430,000 metric tons of potential carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road. On a global level, the Coca-Cola Company has put forward its ambition to use 50% recycled or renewable materials by 2030.
Nestlé Waters systematically applies recyclable-by-design principles and carries out life-cycle analysis to minimize the environmental footprint of all our PET bottles. This includes looking at innovation and alternative sources for materials. Nestlé co-founded with Danone in 2016 the NaturALL Bottle Alliance to scale up a next generation of bio-sourced PET, using biomass such as used cardboard and wood pulp. In Italy, Levissima is Nestlé Waters’ flagship brand for the use of 30% BIO-PET made from sugar cane: 100% of 1.0L «LaLitro» and 16% of 1.5L sparkling products have this feature.
Since 2008, Danone has experimented with bio-based plastics (sugar cane, sugar cane waste and corn) for four brands (Volvic, Actimel, Activia and Stonyfield) in five of its largest markets (Germany, Brazil, France, US and Canada) with one goal: reduce the use of fossil resources. This has allowed Danone to develop an understanding of the environmental implications (lifecycle analysis), compliance with food security and critical sustainability criteria (end of life, recyclability, land use and farming practices, carbon and water etc.), associated business issues, stakeholder concerns and consumer perceptions. For example, Volvic’s new 1.5L bottle is made from up to 20% plant material—the first of its kind in France. Danone also co-created the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to encourage responsible development of plastics made from bio-based materials.
Flexible films are critical for PepsiCo’s snacks packaging, yet across the industry these films are not yet recyclable or compostable. To address this challenge, PepsiCo has entered into a collaboration with Danimer Scientific to develop biodegradable film resins made from renewable biomass to be used for next-generation snacks packaging.
Valio, a Finnish dairy manufacturer, was the first in the world to launch a gable top carton made of renewable plant-based materials in 2015 on a pilot scale. In 2017-2018, Valio is rolling out fully plant-based gable tops in all product categories using non-oxygen barrier carton. The development of plant-based oxygen barrier requires more time still. In the new gable tops, no fossil raw materials are used, and all plastic—even the screw cap—is made of plant-based bioethanol instead of oil. This means that the climate impact (measured in CO2 equivalent) of Valio’s new packaging is 58% smaller.
Unilever is using a plant-based material for tea bags derived from renewable sources such as corn starch, which can be industrially composted. In March 2018, Unilever launched the first fully biodegradable PG tips tea bags in the UK, made with corn starch. The aim is for all PG tips tea bags to use the new material by end-2018. The Saga brand in Poland, Red Rose in Canada, and SariMelati and SariMurni teas in Indonesia have also adapted their manufacturing process to use plant-based materials.