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PlantBottle Basics

By:  The Coca-Cola Company Oct 26, 2012
Plant Bottle Basics


The key difference between PlantBottle packaging and traditional PET plastic bottles is that instead of using petroleum and other fossil fuels to produce a key ingredient in the plastic, PlantBottle packaging uses materials that are up to 30% plants-based. In essence, we are trading fossil fuels for plant-based material without sacrificing performance or recyclability.

In some markets, we will use both recycled content as well as plant-based material in our PlantBottle packaging. For bottles that use recycled material, the recycled content plus plant-based material should enhance the environmental benefit associated with PlantBottle packaging by further reducing the use of virgin petroleum-based material in producing that package.

Products & Markets

PlantBottle packaging is available in nine countries with launches planned for many additional markets in 2011 and beyond.

PlantBottle packaging was also featured at The Coca-Cola Company pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo in Coca-Cola 200ml bottles.

To date, over 2.5 billion bottles have been produced in PlantBottle packaging, exceeding our stated goal of 2 billion bottles by the end of 2010. We plan to double our use of this innovative package in 2011 and we currently intend over the long-term to transition all of our plastic packaging to PlantBottle packaging or other types of packaging that uses renewable and recycled content materials.

Identifying PlantBottle

A PlantBottle PET bottle feels like traditional PET plastic, it's the same weight as traditional PET plastic, it works just like traditional PET plastic, and it's recyclable just like traditional PET plastic -- because it is PET plastic. So how will you know if the bottle you have is PlantBottle packaging? Look for the PlantBottle logo or messages on the package, and look for sales displays in the store where you shop.

Sustainable Packaging Strategy

Our sustainable packaging goal is to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing our material use, increasing recycling, using more recycled and renewable material in our packaging, and advancing innovative technologies. PlantBottle packaging fits well into that broader strategy by allowing us to reduce our dependence on a nonrenewable resources by being a fully recyclable bottle like conventional PET plastic bottles, and by leaving a lighter footprint on the plant and its scarce resources.

PlantBottle Evolution

At Coca-Cola, sustainable packaging innovation is in our DNA. We’ve consistently been on the leading edge of bringing consumer-driven, environmentally responsible developments to the marketplace – from commissioning the first-ever environmental lifecycle assessment of packaging in 1969 and launching our first PET plastic bottle in 1978, to introducing the first plastic beverage bottle made with recycled material in 1991 and opening the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle PET plastic recycling plant in 2009.

While the launch of PlantBottle™ keeps us on the forefront of plant-based packaging innovation, we continue to strive to make an even better bottle. PlantBottle™ packaging is currently made through a process that converts sugarcane into monoethylene glycol (MEG), which represents 30 percent of the total composition of PET plastic by weight. We are working with our partners to crack the code on plant-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA) – which accounts for the other 70 percent of PET. This will involve breakthrough science, but we’ve got some of the smartest minds in the field focused on it today.

We’re also working with several strategic R&D partners, including researchers at universities and research institutes globally, to advance technologies to extract sugar from plant-based wastes for future generations of PlantBottle™ packaging. So, while we are only using sugarcane today, we expect over the long-term to also be able to use natural resources like stems, fruit peels and bark in the near future. Each of these initiatives has a profound impact on our packaging supply chain, which we are literally rebuilding to accommodate the sustainable production and use of PlantBottle™ packaging.

We want our packaging never to be seen as waste, but rather as a valuable resource for future use. This entails introducing packaging that fuses design, form and function, and uses the most environmentally responsible materials available. Our ultimate long-term goal is a carbon neutral, 100% renewable, responsibly sourced bottle that is fully recyclable – a bottle we can all feel good about.  Read about the evolution -- past, present and future -- of our PET plastic bottle.