Cheaper gas will not affect Coca-Cola’s bioplastic goal - exec

21 February 2012 07:40  [Source: ICIS news]

ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS)--US beverage company Coca-Cola will maintain its course towards using 100% bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in their PlantBottle packaging even if natural gas becomes cheaper, a company executive said on Monday.

“Coca-Cola’s initiative towards bioplastic is not purely cost-driven or capital-driven. It is really part of the corporate responsibilities. Somebody needs to lead this [initiative] and the leader sometimes has to pay more,” said Shell Huang, director of packaging research at Coca-Cola.

Huang participated in a panel discussion at a bioplastic seminar hosted by US consulting firm Jim Lunt & Associates. The seminar was held in conjunction with the annual polylactic acid (PLA) conference “Innovation Takes Roots” held by US PLA producer NatureWorks in Orlando, Florida.

Huang noted that Coca-Cola is the first company to introduce bottle recycling 20 years ago.

“At that time, plastic bottle recycling was much more expensive, but today there is cost parity for recycling. If we did not do recycling 20 years ago, we will not be here. We see the same goal on bioplastic for Coca-Cola,” Huang said.

Another reason why Coca-Cola is expected to continue using bio-PET is the projected competitiveness of locally sourced biomass feedstock in certain parts of the world, compared with natural gas and petroleum oil feedstock that have to be shipped.

Coca-Cola has already sold 10bn bottled beverages since the inception of their PlantBottle PET packaging in 2009. The bio-PET packaging contains 30% sugar cane-based ethylene glycol (EG) by weight and 70% petroleum-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA).

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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