PepsiCo Inc has developed a bottle made from plant-based, renewable resources that is fully recyclable, enabling the company to manufacture a beverage container with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. PepsiCo will start using it in a test program next year.
The company's new "green" bottle is currently being made from materials such as switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. In the future, components for the bottle may include orange and potato peels, oat hulls and other byproducts left over from the company's food business.
PepsiCo's chief scientific officer told the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit on Monday that the company was working on ways to reuse such waste.
"This breakthrough innovation is a transformational development for PepsiCo and the beverage industry, and a direct result of our commitment to research and development," says PepsiCo chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi. "PepsiCo is in a unique position, as one of the world's largest food and beverage businesses, to ultimately source agricultural byproducts from our foods business to manufacture a more environmentally preferable bottle for our beverages business—a sustainable business model that we believe brings to life the essence of Performance with Purpose."
Combining biological and chemical processes, PepsiCo has identified methods to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based PET, which results in a bottle that the company says looks, feels, and protects its product identically to existing PET beverage containers.
The company said it would pilot production of the new bottle in 2012 and then move to full-scale commercialization if it was successful.
"As You Sow applauds PepsiCo's innovative packaging design," says Conrad Mackerron, senior program director of As You Sow, a San Francisco-based foundation, which promotes corporate social responsibility through shareholder engagement. "By reducing reliance on petroleum-based materials and using its own agricultural scraps as feedstock for new bottles, this advancement should deliver a double win for the environment and PepsiCo."
Rival Coca-Cola Co already produces a "plant bottle," which is 30 percent made with sugar cane. It is expanding use of that packaging and efforts to convert the remaining 70 percent of its bottle to a plant-based material.
Greener Package,"PepsiCo to launch 100% plant-based PET bottle in 2012", accessed March 15, 2011
Reuters,"PepsiCo develops recyclable, plant-based bottle", accessed March 15, 2011