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.”
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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