PepsiCo joins group to develop bio-degradable PET bottles

PepsiCo has joined the The NaturALL Bottle Alliance to develop beverage containers that are bio-degradable.

The alliance is a research consortium formed by Danone, Nestlé Waters and bio-based materials development company, Origin Materials to accelerate the development of innovative packaging solutions made with 100 per cent sustainable and renewable resources.

The Alliance, which was launched in March 2017, uses biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust, so it does not divert resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption.

The Alliance also explores technology that represents a scientific breakthrough for the sector, and aims to make it available to the entire food and beverage industry.

“Through our Performance with Purpose agenda, PepsiCo is committed to reducing the carbon impact of packaging in line with our goal to reduce absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2030; bio-based PET has the potential to reduce significantly the carbon footprint of our PET bottles, a huge contribution to our efforts in this area,” said said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer.

“We are excited to add PepsiCo’s R&D capabilities to the Alliance and look forward to seeing what the combined efforts of the Alliance members can achieve.”

Frédéric Jouin, Head of Research and Development for plastic materials at Danone, added: “We are proud that PepsiCo has recognised the value of joining our Alliance. By bringing together major players and pooling our complementary expertise and resources, we can make 100 per cent renewable and recyclable PET plastic at commercial scale a reality.”

“PepsiCo is a welcome addition to the alliance because we share the goal of making renewable plastic a reality,” says Origin Materials CEO John Bissell. “Through the combined efforts of its members, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance is setting the bar for sustainability for an entire industry.”

Massimo Casella, Nestlé Waters’ Head of Research and Development, adds, “We are pleased to welcome PepsiCo into the NaturALL Bottle Alliance. Their addition is further proof of the importance of this disruptive technology. The alliance has taken an important step in working together to tackle the challenges around plastic packaging. Developing 100-percent bio-based PET is one way Nestlé is working to use more materials from sustainably managed renewable resources.”

Progress report

After producing samples of 80% bio-based PET at pilot scale in 2017, the alliance has made further progress toward its goal of bringing its technology to full commercial scale. It has selected a site in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, with the assistance of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and has begun construction of its demonstration-scale plant. The major process equipment has been fabricated, and modules are under construction for this plant, which is expected to have a capacity of 18,000 tons of biomass and be fully operational by 2020. Following that milestone, the alliance plans to increase production to 95% bio-based PET and achieve full commercial-scale soon after. Alliance members plan to continue their joint R&D efforts to increase the level of bio-based content, with the ultimate objective of reaching 100%.

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