Big Brands teaming up on bio-based PET

Many major brands have teamed up to create the plant PET technology collaborative- these companies include brands like Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., H.J. Heinz co., Nike Inc., and Proctor & Gamble Co. The collaborative is aimed at accelerating the development and use of plant based PET materials and fibers.

Katherine Schermerhorn, a spokesperson for Coke, states that PTC members are pooling resources, knowledge and experience in an effort to find a sustainable alternative to the use of fossil fuel. The goal is to develop a commercially feasible form of purified terephalic acid made of plant-based sources. PTA makes up 70% of PET formulation by weight. Major companies, including Coke, already use PET made with bio-based monoethylene glycol, the other 30%.

PTC, academic and industry experts are joining forces to develop common, industry wide terminology, practices and standards for using plant-based resin.  Schermerhorn told Plastic News, “We’re coming together to make sure that standards are in place, so when Coke talks about using plant-based packaging it’s the same as when Ford or Heinz or Nike talks about it.”

It needs to be ensured that PET is truly sustainable alternative, and that this will develop supply chains to ensure “feed stock isn’t competing with food supply,” she concludes. Schermerhorn states that because something is plant based it does not mean it is greater in terms of footprint and supply chains. She stresses the importance that they need to develop the trust with customers and consumers.

The development of the PTC have been discussed for a while, it was important for Coke to work with brands that had the same views to environmentally responsible practices, and shared the same vision to drive innovation.

The response to plant based resin has been a positive one, the price predictability on plant based resin is greater than that of resin made of fossil fuels and the environmental advantages have also played a factor in the positive response from customers.

Schermerhorn states that the case for business has to be made for it really isn’t a sustainability movement; Coke has been working for several years on the plant based PET and has been using this technology in its Plant Bottles since 2009.

In December, Coke announced it had planned to make a multi-millions dollar investment in three research companies for the development of a plant based PET bottle by 2020. This investment is a entirely separate form their involvement in PTC, states Schermerhorn.

Source: Plastics News