Coca-Cola to ramp up development of PlantBottle

The Coca-Cola Company today announced partnerships with three leading biotechnology companies to accelerate development of the first commercial solutions for next-generation PlantBottle packaging made 100 percent from plant-based materials.

This effort to commercialize a plastic bottle made entirely from plants builds on Coca-Cola's first generation PlantBottle package, the first recyclable PET beverage bottle made partially from plants.

Since introduced in 2009, Coca-Cola has distributed more than 10 billion PlantBottle packages in 20 countries.

Agreements with Virent, Gevo and Avantium — industry leaders in developing plant-based alternatives to materials traditionally made from fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources — were signed following an in-depth two year analysis of different technologies by The Coca-Cola Company’s R&D team and technical advisory board.

"While the technology to make bio-based materials in a lab has been available for years, we believe Virent, Gevo and Avantium are companies that possess technologies that have high potential for creating them on a global commercial scale within the next few years," said Rick Frazier, Vice President of Commercial Product Supply for Coca-Cola.

The company is targeting 2015 for the opening of its first full-scale commercial plant.

PlantBottle reducing dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels and minimizes the carbon impact of PET plastic. It is estimated the use of PlantBottle packaging in the first two years has helped save the equivalent annual emissions of more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola announced a partnership with H.J. Heinz Company to produce its ketchup bottles using PlantBottle technology. Heinz PlantBottle packaging launched this summer in the U.S.

Coca-Cola also produces a fully recyclable HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic that is made 100 percent from plant material and is available through Odwalla juice brand products.

While HDPE is an ideal package for some refrigerated juice products, it is not suitable for shelf-stable carbonated and still beverages.