Coke’s New Plant-Based Bottles Are Sure to be a Hit

The futuristic “paper bottle” can be recyclable or composted.

Jun 15, 2020

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Imagine going into a store for your favorite soft drink and there are no longer plastic bottles or cans on the shelves. Instead, you see an unusual looking bottle that is made of plant-based renewable materials that can be recycled or returned back to nature.

For the Paper Bottle Company (Paboco), this is their vision of the future and they are working to make it a reality. The company is working on the “paper bottle project” to replace the fossil-fuel based packaging used today and they are backed by a collection of global corporations that includes Coca Cola.

The project, which began in2013, is being carried out by Avantium, a renewable chemical company, BillerudKorsnäs, a paper packaging developer, and  ALPLA, a bottle manufacturer according to the Evening Standard. It will use plant sugars to develop a plastic  (PEF) that is environmentally friendly and 100 percent recyclable to line cardboard bottles on the inside. The PEF actually has a better thermal barrier than standard plastics.

"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,” Avantium chief executive Tom van Aken told the Evening Standard.

This type of new technology is really vital to getting a handle on plastic pollution. Over 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year and most of it are single-use plastics like soft drink bottles, according to the ICUN. More than 8 million tons of plastics go into our waterways every year. The ones that remain in landfills will take hundreds of years to degrade.

In 2018, the European Union Parliament approved legislation to ban some single-use plastics by 2021 and for the rest to be reduced and recycled. Other countries have followed suit including China which has banned non-degradable plastic bags according to the BBC.

Paboco Technical Director Christina Carlsen said on the company website: “Being part of this journey from the beginning, inventing the technology and building the first machine for the paper bottle with my bare hands is my chance to make a difference. A difference towards a sustainable world for future generations. What we are doing is not just a new bottle, we are making a difference.” 

Two of the companies that joined the “paper bottle project” Carlsberg, and Coca Cola (who joined in 2019) hope to be using the new bottles by 2023. Creating a new type of bottle that is biodegradable and not made of fossil fuels will go a long way in reducing greenhouse gasses from our atmosphere and trash from our oceans and landfills.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.