PepsiCo Inc has revealed a new bottle made entirely from plant-based materials. The new bottle is made using switch grass, pine bark, corn husks, among other materials.
Pepsi eventually plans to also use orange peels, oat hulls, potato scraps and other waste scraps from its huge food operations.
The company maintains that the bottle looks, feels and protects the drink just the same as the current plastic bottles, adding that “it’s indistinguishable”.
PepsiCo says it is the world’s first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based materials. Rival Coca-Cola produces a bottle using 30 percent plant-based materials. Coca-Cola recently estimated that it would be several years before it would make the leap to a 100 percent plant-based commercial bottle.
The invention may potentially change the industry standard for plastic packaging, if it catches on. PET is used for a wide variety of products. It has been used a lot because it is lightweight, durable and recyclable, but not biodegradable and not able to be composted. A good deal of petroleum based product is used in its manufacture as well.
The company has stated that it has had dozens of people working on the process to come up with the plant-based bottle for years. It has also created a fully compostable bag for chips.
Pepsi says that out of its 19 biggest brands, 11 are beverage brands that use PET, so this is a big step forward. The company has also said that the cost should be about the same as current bottles.
Plans to test the new bottle in quantities of a few hundred thousand will be carried out in 2012. If testing goes well, the company says it will then convert all its PET products over to the new material.