The Coca-Cola Co. is making impressive environmental improvements in its bottles. As reported here, Coke is the first company to introduce a beverage bottle made with recycled plastic. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola opened the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, SC. Now Coke has announced the “PlantBottle”, which is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30 percent plant-based materials. The feedstock, presumably ethylene glycol via glucose, is made from sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production. Coca-Cola said it is also exploring the use of other plant materials for future generations of the bottle. A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the “PlantBottle” with 30 percent plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.
Another advantage to the “PlantBottle” is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET. Coca-Cola North America will pilot the “PlantBottle” with Dasani and sparkling brands in select markets later this year and with vitaminwater in 2010
“The ‘PlantBottle’ represents the next step in evolving our system toward the bottle of the future,” said Scott Vitters, director of Sustainable Packaging of Coca-Cola. “This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable.”
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
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