Dutch renewable chemicals company Avantium, paper packaging material developer BillerudKorsnäs and bottle manufacturing specialist ALPLA are working together on The Paper Bottle Project, which will see plastics made from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.
Carlsberg hopes the project will enable it to sell pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic, while Coca-Cola, L'Oreal and The Absolut Company have thrown their weight behind it too.
The bottles will be made from 'PEF', a 100 percent plant-based and recyclable polymer, and will have superior barrier and thermal properties to standard PEF. As well as being recyclable, the bottles will also rot naturally within a year, meaning they won't pollute as harmfully as standard plastics do, which can take hundreds of years to decompose.
Avantium chief executive Tom van Aken said: "This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels and can be recycled - but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do."
The project is set to unveil additional partnerships with other food and drink manufacturers at the end of the summer and it is hoped the plant-based plastic bottles could be on shelves by 2023.
Speaking in October last year, Avantium Managing Director Marcel Lubben said: "Participating in the Paper Bottle Project and collaborating with like-minded companies within the Paboco Pioneer Community - from bottle manufacturers to consumer brands - on developing new sustainable packaging material is a great opportunity for Avantium.
"It is a milestone in the development of high-value applications such as speciality bottles. The Paper Bottle shows how we, together with partners, can use innovation to help shape packaging for a circular and sustainable future."
Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic waste makes its way into our oceans, having a devastating impact on the marine environment and animals that live there. Indeed, if things keep going at this rate, experts reckon there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.
So any investment in degradable plant-based plastics can only be a good thing.
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