Sustainability just got that much stronger as Coca-Cola, Ford, Heinz, Nike, and Procter & Gamble have created the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC) to accelerate the development and deployment of 100% plant-based PET materials and fiber in their products.
PET, a.k.a., polyethylene terephthalate, is the durable, lightweight plastic used by these five companies in their bottles, apparel, footwear and automotive fabric and carpet.
Building on Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging technology, these products have a lesser environmental impact than traditional PET plastic bottles. Heinz licenses the technology for select ketchup bottles in the U.S. and Canada.
Coca-Cola in December announced partnerships with a trio of biotech firms to take its PlantBottle from 30% renewably sourced to 100%, with a goal to produce bottles made from 100% plant-based materials in all of its packaging by 2020. PepsiCo has also been touting its plant-based bottle in a heated race to create more eco-friendly bottling and packaging materials.
"Fossil fuels like oil have significant impacts to the planet's biodiversity, climate and other natural systems," said Erin Simon, Senior Program Officer of Packaging for World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "Sustainably managing our natural resources and finding alternatives to fossil fuels are both business and environmental imperatives. It's encouraging to see these leading companies use their market influence to reduce dependence on petroleum-based plastics. We hope other companies will follow their lead."
A PTC spokesperson commented, "Rather than go in separate directions, these like-minded companies, each with strong R&D resources, are coming together to work toward developing technology at a faster, more effective pace, that will be mutually beneficial.”
Ed Sawicki, associate director, global business development for P&G noted, "Though our Connect+Develop program of external innovation, we can work with others to help to advance the pace of the technical learning and commercial availability of 100% plant-based PET faster than any one party can do alone. This enables us to deliver products and packages that consumers want in a sustainable fashion. It creates a win-win situation for the company, consumers and environment."
A byproduct of sustainability is proving to be a catalyst for collaboration amongst those who can make the most difference; a boon to business, the consumer, and the planet.