Five major U.S. brands collaborating on plant-based PET

By: 
June 05, 2012


Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., H.J. Heinz, Nike, and Procter & Gamble have joined forces to accelerate the development and use of 100% plant-based PET materials in their products.

Together, these five brands have formed the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC), which will support new technologies in an effort to evolve today's material that is partially made from plants to a solution made entirely from plants.

A PTC spokesperson told PlasticsToday all the companies share a common commitment to sustainable practices, including research and technologies focused on 100% plant-based PET materials. 

"Rather than go in separate directions, these like-minded companies, each with strong R&D resources, are coming together to work toward developing technology at a faster, more effective pace, that will be mutually beneficial," the spokesperson said.

The collaborative builds upon Coca-Cola's PlantBottle packaging technology, which is its PET plastic beverage bottle made partially from plants. Currently, Heinz licenses the technology from Coca-Cola for select Heinz ketchup bottles in the U.S. and Canada. Coca-Cola had previously announced partnerships with Virent, Gevo and Avantium to take its PlantBottle from 30% renewably sourced to 100%, with a goal to produce bottles made from 100% plant-based materials in all of its packaging by 2020.

By leveraging the R&D efforts of the founding companies, the PTC hopes to enact positive change across multiple industries, the spokesperson said.

"PTC members are committed to supporting and championing research, expanding knowledge and accelerating technology development to enable commercially viable, more sustainably sourced, 100% plant-based PET plastic while reducing the use of fossil fuels," the spokesperson said.

Ed Sawicki, associate director, global business development for P&G, said this project provides an opportunity to help the company deliver on its sustainable goals, which includes reducing the amount of petroleum-based materials used today by 25% by 2020, with a long-term goal to fully replace petroleum-based materials with sustainable sources.

"Though our Connect+Develop program of external innovation, we can work with others to help to advance the pace of the technical learning and commercial availability of 100% plant-based PET faster than any one party can do alone," he said.  "This enables us to deliver products and packages that consumers want in a sustainable fashion. It creates a win-win situation for the company, consumers and environment."

The PTC seeks to drive the development of common methodologies and standards for the use of plant-based plastic including life cycle analysis and universal terminology. The brands will then promote these standards with the expectation that they will be endorsed and used worldwide by both PTC and non-PTC members, the spokesperson said.

"PTC member companies look forward to working together to meet each member's future business goals and lead the charge toward 100% plant-based materials," the PTC stated.

Discussions are ongoing, and the specific details of potential future projects are confidential at this stage.

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