ATLANTA — Leaders of Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest user of PET, have a goal of using 100 percent plant-based resin in all its PET bottles, a top Coke researcher said at the Society of Plastics Engineers Annual Blow Molding Conference.
Yu Shi, director of next-generation materials and sustainability, said sales of the most-visible PlantBottle, Dasani water, have increased by 20 percent thanks to the green packaging. Coke rolled out PlantBottle in 2009.
"Our water brand, ever since we launched the Dasani, in the PlantBottle, it has continued to grow," she said.
Shi was the luncheon speaker at the SPE conference in Atlanta — Coke's hometown — on Oct. 8.
She said the PlantBottle version has about 30 percent PET resin from sugar cane and 70 percent bio-based purified terephthalic acid, or PTA.
The bottles, now used in 27 countries, are fully recyclable.
The next horizon may be PEF, polyethylene furanoate, a bio-based alternative to PET. Coke is working with Avantium, a renewable chemicals firm based in Amsterdam on bottles from PEF, which Shi said "has the promise of barrier" properties.
One big issue is how will PEF impact the recycling stream, the Coke executive said at the blow molding conference. Coke is a major user of recycled PET, and the company doesn't want to damage its own recycled material.
Coke is part of the PlantBottle Technology Collaborative, which includes Ford Motor Co., H.J. Heinz Co., Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.