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Friday, November 20, 2015

What's a PlantBottle?

This post is sponsored by Dasani & The Coca-Cola Company. 
All opinions are 100% my own.
What's with the green caps on the Dasani bottles? They used to be blue, then one day I go to the convenience store to grab a bottle of water and they turned green. At first, I thought Coca Cola might be taking this Christmas thing to the next level, to match up the newly green Dasani caps with the red Coca Cola caps. But, that wasn't the case.

Instead, what's going on is the bottles the water comes in have gone green, or probably more appropriate to say sustainable, as they're not a 100% green solution. Typically, water bottles are made up of a petroleum-based plastic known as PET, pronounced and sometimes spelled PETE. The PET abbreviation/acronym is not a shortening of petroleum. Instead, it stands for polyethylene terephthalate. Since that is a bit of a mouthful, it is just known as PET. The bottles are made of a plastic resin, polyester material. From a recycling standpoint, they are labeled #1, and before and after the plant inclusion, are 100% recyclable.

The green capped Dasani bottles are called PlantBottles. Instead of being 100% made of PET, up to 30% of the material used is made from plants. As you can probably imagine, plants are a renewable resource, unlike the fossil fuels used to create the earlier, 100% pure, PET bottles.
Introduced back in 2009, Coca Cola's PlantBottle has since saved over 700,000 barrels of oil which would have been used to create the other 30% of the bottle. To put some perspective on the quantity, in the US, 19.11 million barrels of oil are used per day, so that's less than an hours worth of oil. But the US uses the most by far. (List of countries by oil consumption) That 700,000 barrels is enough oil to fuel over 175 different countries for a day, with only about 25 countries using more.

While that might not seem like much, it is still saving the non-renewable fossil-based resources used in conventional PET plastic. And, Coca-Cola and Dasani aren't the only ones using these PlantBottles. In 2011, Coca-Cola announced a partnership with Heinz where their ketchup bottles now use PlantBottle materials, too.

The use of plant material isn't the only thing reducing the amount of PET plastics in the bottle. The bottles are now a lighter weight plastic, too, using 45% less plastic than their original 2001 bottle. So that saves at least double the amount of petroleum since that much more PET plastic doesn't need to be made.

What's with the "up to 30%" bit? Why not always 30%? Well, the 30% is mostly made from sugar cane and waste products left over from processing sugar cane. As the bottling machines transition between the plant-based resin and the older form, the percentages could fluctuate a little. It is also 30% by weight, which isn't the same as by volume or by area. So, to be on the safe side they go with the up to 30% line.
In the end, Coca-Cola and their Dasani purified water bottles have gone down the route of sustainability, trying to preserve what's left of the world's resources as best they can. Sitting across from a Coca-Cola bottling plant where I work, one has to wonder where else this PlantBottle packaging will end up?

*Read my Disclosure


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