Coca-Cola and Carlsberg back new all-plant containers

The end of plastic bottles? Coca-Cola and Carlsberg back new all-plant drinks containers that will rot away to nothing within a year

  • Dutch biochemical company Avantium are developing a new plant-plastic
  • The material would form a protective, recyclable layer inside a cardboard bottle
  •  Avantium hopes to have their new drinks containers on shelves by 2023

Drinks giants Coca-Cola and Carlsberg have backed a project aiming to replace drinks containers with an all-plant material that completely decomposes within one year.

The beverage companies see the future of their drinks packaging moving away from plastics and see the Plastic Bottle Project as a promising solution.

The project is run by The Paper Bottle Company (Pabaco), a joint venture between paper packaging material developer BillerudKorsnäs and bottle manufacturing specialist ALPLA.

Dutch biochemical company Avantium are part of the project and are working to develop a plant-based material strong enough to hold drinks.

Dutch biochemical company Avantium are part of the Plastic Bottle Project which aims to produce a plant-plastic material to replace normal plastics in food and drinks packaging

Beverage giants Carlsberg and Coca-Cola have partnered with Avantium for the project and more food and drink companies are expected to announce partnerships this summer

Their XYZ plant-to-plastics PEF material will provide the strengthening layer supporting the paper bottle.

When the paper and plant-plastic are separated, the entire bottle can be recycled.

Speaking in October last year, Avantium Managing Director Marcel Lubben said: ‘Participating in the Paper Bottle Project and collaborating with like-minded companies within the Paboco Pioneer Community – from bottle manufacturers to consumer brands – on developing new sustainable packaging material is a great opportunity for Avantium.

‘It is a milestone in the development of high-value applications such as specialty bottles. The Paper Bottle shows how we, together with partners, can use innovation to help shape packaging for a circular and sustainable future.’

The plant-plastic is produced by breaking down sustainable plant sugars into chemical structures and this will be rearranged to get a new plant-based plastic

300million tonnes of plastic is made from fossil fuels globally every year, most of which is not recycled and can take hundreds of years to decompose.

However, Avantium believe that their plant-based technology will be able to produce a new material for drinks containers that breaks down within a single year by 2023.

The plant-plastic is produced by breaking down sustainable plant sugars into chemical structures and this will be rearranged to get a new plant-based plastic.

Avantium chief executive Tom van Aken said: ‘This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do.’

He also said he hopes to secure the greenlight for investment in their plant-plastic technology by the end of the year.

A graphic on Avantium’s website shows the process they undertake to produce their PEF plant-plastic which is hoped will be widely used by food and drinks companies for packaging by 2023

Avantium plan to unveil more food and drink partnerships in the summer.

Drinks company Absolut, who are part of the Paper Bottle Project, are preparing to pilot their first-generation packaging. 

Greenbiz reported in February that Absolut Director of future packaging Louise Werner said: ‘While each pioneer is building on their own, they will be able to elaborate and build on each other, the partnership will contribute ideas.

‘The idea is to feed the learnings back into all the projects.’

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