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Bioplastics Becomes PET Project for US Consumer Giants


Photo Credit: Coca-Cola

The bioplastics business just got a big boost.

Coca-Cola,Ford Motor, Heinz, Nike, and Procter & Gamble have now confirmed that they will work together on a new Plant Polyethylene Terephthalate Technology Collaborative, PTC, in order to accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable plant-based plastics.

Polyethylene Terephthalate, PET, is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world. It is usually derived from oil, and degrades very slowly, creating huge amounts of non-biodegradable waste each year.

The new plastic will be made from 100-percent, plant-based material and fiber, and be used to completely replace PET made from fossil fuels.

Coca-Cola has already launched a PlantBottle in 2009, which is partially made from plant-based materials, however the new PTC group will look to accelerate the development of a PET that is made from 100 percent plant-based materials.

Coca-Cola said that the “PTC members are committed to researching and developing commercial solutions for PET plastic made entirely from plants and will aim to drive the development of common methodologies and standards for the use of plant-based plastic including life cycle analyses and universal terminology.”

Environmentalists are worried that bioplastics will have the same negative effects as biofuels, that of occupying agricultural land, and thereby reducing the amount of food that can be grown, increasing food prices.

Erin Simon, the senior program officer of packaging at WWF, said that “sustainably managing our natural resources and finding alternatives to fossil fuelsare both business and environmental imperatives. It's encouraging to see these leading companies use their market influence to reduce dependence on petroleum-based plastics. We hope other companies will follow their lead.”

—This story originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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