PepsiCo Joins R&D Consortium Developing 100% Bio-Based Bottles
PepsiCo has joined the NaturALL Bottle Alliance, a research consortium started last year by Danone, Nestlé Waters, and startup Origin Materials to develop packaging made with 100% sustainable and renewable resources. The partnership aims to create bio-based beverage containers with lower carbon footprints.
Launched in March 2017, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance seeks to make a fully renewable and recyclable PET bottle available to the food and beverage industry in record time. The alliance says it is using biomass feedstocks like used cardboard and sawdust to avoid diverting resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption.
Polyethylene terephthalate or PET is known for having one of the most developed collection and recycling systems globally, making it a key asset for the circular economy of plastics, according to the alliance. Last year the alliance successfully produced samples of 80% bio-based PET at pilot scale.
Now the NaturALL Bottle Alliance is reporting further progress toward its goal of bringing the technology to full commercial scale. With help from Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, the alliance selected a site in Sarna, Ontario, and has started construction on a demonstration-scale 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,” the research group says. “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%.”
Executives from Danone, Nestlé Waters, and Origin Materials were enthusiastic in welcoming PepsiCo to the effort this week. Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo vice chairman and chief scientific officer, expressed excitement about adding PepsiCo’s R&D capabilities to the alliance.
“Producing PET from sustainable bio-based sources that do not diminish food resources and are fully recyclable is a great example of such innovation and an important contributor to PepsiCo’s sustainable packaging program,” Khan said. PepsiCo currently has a goal of reducing absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2030, and reducing carbon emissions from packaging would help the company get there.
Recently PepsiCo’s philanthropic arm, the PepsiCo Foundation, provided $10 million in funding to help make recycling easier in the United States. The foundation is collaborating with the nonprofit Recycling Partnership on a sweeping industry-wide residential recycling challenge. Over the next five years, the nonprofit expects the new challenge to capture 1.9 million tons of quality recyclable materials.