By Jonathan Bardelline
PURCHASE, NY — PepsiCo announced a response to Coca-Cola's PlantBottle, but unlike Coke's bottle, which is only 30 percent plant-based at the time, Pepsi says its will be completely derived from plants.
Pepsi will make its bottles out of switch grass, pine bark and corn husks, and like with Coke's PlantBottle, they're using natural materials to make PET plastic, so it can be recycled along with their current petroleum-based plastic bottles.
The beverage giant hopes to also use orange and potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its Tropicana, Quaker and other operations in the future to make the bottles.
Pepsi will do a pilot run of the plant-based bottles in 2012, followed by commercialization based on the results of the test run.
While Coca-Cola beat Pepsi to putting out drinks in bottles made from plants first, Pepsi has the chance to put out the first recyclable bottle derived entirely from plants by a major company.
Coca-Cola's PlantBottles, which are also being used for Heinz ketchup and Odwalla juices, are still 70 percent petroleum-based. Scott Vitters, the company's global director of sustainable packaging, wrote in a GreenBiz.com post last year:
Our PlantBottle packaging is made by converting natural sugars found in plants into a key ingredient for making PET plastic. For those who want the technical specifics, we've innovated a way to develop plant-based MEG, a key component in PET plastic. PlantBottle is up to 30 percent plant-based because MEG is 30 percent of the total composition of PET plastic by weight. We still have more work to do to crack the code on a plant-based TA, which is the other 70 percent of PET plastic, but we know it is feasible.