Danone and Nestlé Waters have joined forces with California startup Origin Materials to develop a PET plastic bottle made from bio-based material, with plans to achieve 95% bio-based by 2022.
The NaturALL Bottle Alliance project will use biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust, so it does not divert resources or land from food production for human or animal consumption.
The technology represents a scientific breakthrough for the sector, and the Aalliance aims to make it available to the entire food and beverage industry, the companies said.
“Our goal is to establish a circular economy for packaging by sourcing sustainable materials and creating a second life for all plastics,” said Danone head of R&D for plastic materials Frederic Jouin. “We believe it’s possible to replace traditional fossil materials with bio-based packaging materials. By teaming up and bringing together our complementary expertise and resources, the alliance can move faster in developing 100% renewable and recyclable PET plastic at commercial scale.”
The bottle is a similar concept to the plant-based bottles launched by Coca-Cola in 2015 and the new product brought to the European market by Marco Polo Intercontinental last year.
￼The next-generation packaging will be as lightweight, transparent, recyclable and protective of the product as today’s PET containers, while boasting the added advantage that it is better for the environment. The exclusive use of renewable feedstocks, which do not divert resources or land from food production, is the alliance’s main focus area. The R&D will focus initially on cardboard, sawdust and wood chips but other biomass materials, such as rice hulls, straw and agricultural residue could be explored.
Origin Materials CEO John Bissell said: “Current technology on the market makes it possible to have 30% bio-PET. Our breakthrough technology aims to reach 100% bio-based bottles at commercial scale. With the help of our alliance partners, Origin Materials will be able to scale up a technology which has already been proven at the pilot level.”
And Klaus Hartwig, head of R&D for Nestlé Waters, said: “It’s incredible to think that, in the near future, the industry will be able to use a renewably sourced packaging material, which does not compete with food production and contributes to a better planet. It therefore made perfect sense for us to join forces through this alliance to develop this innovative technology in a large scale and in the shortest time period possible. This is an exciting journey and we are proud to be part of it.”
Origin Materials has already produced samples of 80% bio-based PET in its pilot plant in Sacramento. Construction of a ‘pioneer plant’ will begin this year, with production of the first samples of PET with more than 60% bio-based materials set to start in 2018.
The initial volume goal for this first step is 5,000 metric tons of bio-based PET. Thanks to their complementary skills and shared vision, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance partners aim to develop the process for producing at least 75% bio-based PET plastic bottles at commercial scale as early as 2020, scaling up to 95% in 2022.
The partners will continue to conduct research to increase the level of bio-based content, with the objective of reaching 100% at a later time.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019