Plant-based initiative to improve development

Coca-Cola, Heinz, Procter and Gamble are taking part in a brand-new worldwide scheme to improve the development of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) made wholly from plants.

Ford and Nike are joining the initiative in creating the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC) aimed at using 100% plant-based PET materials and fibre in their products, instead of current partial plant-based PET methods.

Just last year in December, Coca-Cola signed a deal with three companies in order to accelerate development of the first commercial solution for PET plastic made entirely from plants and have discovered a 2020 goal to use their PlantBottle packaging for all of their PET plastic bottles.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said that the announcement is another step in accelerating development of PET made entirely from plants.

She said: “[It will bring] together leading brand companies that have a shared vision and use the power of collaboration to help drive innovation.

“It allows us to use renewable resources instead of fossil fuels which helps us reduce potential carbon dioxide emissions compared to our traditional PET plastic bottles. We also believe that over the long term, the cost of materials made from plants will be more stable than the cost of petroleum”.

Membership for new partners will be ‘most likely’ deferred for at least the first year until existing work streams are established, says the partnership.

The spokesperson also said that the plant PET can be created from many sources such as sugarcane, sugar beets, corn, sorghum and cassava.

She added: “The PTC is a great example of using the power of collaboration to drive sustainable innovation to meet these commitments.

“The PTC will focus on the development of technologies that are commercially viable in an effort to enable the next-generation of plant-based PET made from 100% plant-based materials”.

“The PTC will also promote industry standards to support the development of sustainable new plant-based PET materials that will be endorsed and used worldwide by both PTC and non-PTC members,” she said. “[It] will contribute resources toward achieving the goal of leading the acceleration of knowledge and technology to enable commercially viable, scalable, sustainably sourced, 100% plant-based PET”.

Coca-Cola introduced their PlantBottle, using a plant-based solution of 30% for the monoethylene glycol (MEG) element of PET in 2009 and last year they formed a partnership with Heinz, so the firm could use their technology to produce ketchup bottles in the US and Canada.

Ed Sawicki, the associate director of global business development at Procter and Gamble (P & G), said there are common and sector specific elements to the work.

“As [an] example, advancing the science and technology of 100% plant-based PET is an element of common effort that can be used by the common supply base that serves our respective sectors,” he said.

He added: “While we will look for synergy where other areas of commonality exist to advance the technology, each company is responsible for deploying the technology within their own sector and business area.

“As the technology to make 100% plant-based PET requires invention and development, we do not have a specific date for deployment, but strongly believe that by bringing the talents of the five companies in the collaborative, we will be able to advance the required inventions more quickly”.

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