Back in 2009, Coca-Cola began marketing â€œPlantbottleâ€ technology, a method of manufacturing plastic bottles (made from PET) with 30% plant-based materials. According to a Coke spokeswoman, the container has “the same weight, the same feel, the same chemistry, and functions exactly the same way.” The difference being, the Plantbottle can reduce carbon emissions up to 25% less than regular plastic bottles (according to a life-cycle analysis done by Imperial College London).
Heinz announced their partnership with Coca-Cola this week and will adopt the Plantbottle technology in their ketchup bottles. This marks Heinz largest change in their iconic ketchup packaging since 1983. Beginning in June this year, Heinz ketchup bottles will be packaged with Plantbottles made partially from Brazilian sugarcane.
How exactly are the bottles made? The sugarcane is first crushed and mashed to produce juice. The sugarcane juice is then fermented and distilled which produces ethanol.
Through a series of chemical processes and oxidation, the ethanol is converted to mono-ethylene glycol that is then mixed with terephthalic acid to create PET.
Coca-Cola has announced the production of the Plantbottle using 100% plant material, however, they are still in the process of making it viable for commercial use. According to packaging experts, bottles made from plant-based materials do not keep carbonation as long and has a shorter shelf life. “It just doesn’t keep the product protected the same way that the current bottles do,” says Wade Groetsch, president of Blue Lake Citrus LLC, a Winter Haven, Fla.-based juice processor.