Sustainable Energy

Coca-Cola unveils new eco-bottle made from plants

Luke Graham, special to CNBC

The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a plastic bottle that is made entirely from renewable plant material.

The U.S. beverage megalith claims the bottle is fully recyclable and the first to use PET plastic (a common type of polyester) that is entirely derived from sugar found in plants.

Coca-Cola's new plastic bottle made from plants (Photo: Business Wire)
PET PlantBottle (Photo: Business Wire)

"The packaging looks, functions and recycles like traditional PET but has a lighter footprint on the planet and its scarce resources," Coca-Cola said.

The bottle was unveiled at the World Expo in Milan on Wednesday.

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The announcement follows a growing trend of companies introducing policies to reduce their emissions and waste, in order to become (or at least appear to be) more environmentally sustainable.

For instance, Coca-Cola rival, PepsiCo, says it saved more than 1,000 metric tons of PET in 2013 through packaging innovations. Meanwhile, Olay, one of Procter & Gamble's flagship brands, says it reduced the amount of plastic used by 800,000 tons a year through making changes to the design of its Total Effects bottlepump.

Coca-Cola has already created an eco-friendly bottle, dubbed the "PlantBottle," that is made from up to 30 percent plant-based materials. The PlantBottle packaging uses sugarcane and waste from the sugarcane manufacturing process.

According to its recent press release, Coca-Cola has distributed more than 35 billion bottles with PlantBottle packaging since 2009 and estimates that this has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 315,000 metric tons.