Dec 27 - Coke's Race to 'Green' Bottles Misguided

Share The NYTimes recently highlighted the race between Coke and Pepsi to create a 100% plant bottle - plastic soda bottle made entirely from plants.

Coke has recently announced new partnership with three companies that are developing competing technologies to make plastic from plants, with the goal of rolling out these 100% plant bottles to consumers in a few years.

PepsiCo is striving to get to 100% green label first. The company declared in March that it had cracked the code of the all-plant plastic bottle, and on Thursday, it said that it was on schedule to conduct a test next year that involved producing 200,000 bottles made from plant-only plastic. But until Pepsi conducts the test, executives said they would not be able to predict when large-scale production of such bottles might begin.

According to the article, Coke was the first out of the gate in the green bottle race, when in 2009 it began selling Dasani water in the United States in bottles made with up to 30 percent plant-based plastics. On Thursday the company said that by 2020 all of its plastic bottles would meet the 30 percent plant-based standard.

Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental group says,"Regardless of how they are produced, plant-based plastics still create litter and solid waste problems" and "companies like Coke and Pepsi should endorse legislation that would require the food and consumer products industries to finance recycling operations, in order to greatly increase plastic recycling."

Despite the attractive packaging and claims, environmental groups recognize that the so-called plant bottle is still just like any other plastic bottle that won’t biodegrade or compost in a landfill, compost pile, ocean, or anywhere else. This Coke bottle, like competitor PepsiCo’s plant-based bottle, can only be recycled or thrown away in a landfill.

Coca-Cola has also recently reneged on its support of a PET recycling facility in South Carolina, and has also failed to meet a goal of using 10% recycled content in its containers by 2010. It also changed their commitment from "Source 25 percent of our PET plastic from recycled material by 2015" (2009) to "Commitment to source 25% recycled and/or renewable." (Apr 2011)

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