ACCESS PACK EXPO XPRESS ONLINE TODAY
ACCESS PACK EXPO XPRESS ONLINE TODAY. Content is available on-demand through November 30th.
LEARN MORE

Packaging Materials Move from Petroleum to Plant-Based Plastics

What’s common among plastic bottles, apparel, footwear, automotive fabric and carpet? It’s PET or polyethylene terephthalate.

Aw 11234 Bottles

A durable, lightweight plastic that came of age in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s to contain carbonate soft drinks, traditional petroleum-based PET contains monoethylene glycol, or MEG, which accounts for up to 30 percent by weight of a container. (The remaining 70 percent of the total mass is purified terephthalic acid, or PTA.)

“Our packaging innovation teams are working on technology to develop PTA from plants,” said Coca-Cola last year about its efforts. “But it’s complicated science and we expect it will be a few more years before we have a commercial breakthrough.”

Now, though, through a strategic working group called the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC), Coca-Cola, Ford Motor, H.J. Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble seek to accelerate the timeline for development and use of 100-percent plant-based PET materials and fiber in their products.

As explained in an early-June announcement released jointly by the five companies, the collaborative builds upon the success of Coca-Cola’s trademarked PlantBottle packaging technology. Made with plant-based MEG, which replaces the fossil-fuel-derived glycol, the technology demonstrates a lower environmental impact than traditional PET plastic bottles. Currently, Heinz licenses the technology from Coca-Cola for select Heinz ketchup bottles sold in the U.S. and Canada.

But, as Coca-Cola emphasizes in its release, the collaborative organization was formed to support new technologies to evolve today’s partial-plant PET material into a full plant-based solution. And as the company says, the collaborative seeks to accomplish this by leveraging research-and-development efforts of the five founding companies. That leveraging aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase recyclability of the respective companies’ products

Test Your Machine Learning Smarts
Take Automation World's machine learning quiz to prove your knowledge!
Take Quiz
Test Your Machine Learning Smarts
How use of robotic technology is sweeping across all industries
We asked nearly 60 industrial end-users and system integrators about their use of robotic technology. This report details the trends they identified and how to compare different types of robots.
Download Now
How use of robotic technology is sweeping across all industries