Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Plastic Bottle Made From Plants Degrades in Just One Year

Business
Plastic Bottle Made From Plants Degrades in Just One Year
Avantium, a biochemical company in the Netherlands, is fundraising for a new project that will turn sustainably grown crops into a plant-based plastic. Avantium

While some are trying to clean up the plastic pollution in the oceans, and others are removing it from beaches, one company is looking to end the need for plastic bottles that last hundreds of years and are rarely recycled. A Dutch company is looking to fight the plastic crisis with a plant-based alternative that degrades in one year, as The Guardian reported.


Avantium, a biochemical company in the Netherlands, is fundraising for a new project that will turn sustainably grown crops into a plant-based plastic. The technology has gained the attention of beer maker Carlsberg, beverage giant Coca-Cola and Danone. All three companies have signaled that they plant to use Avantium's technology in the future, according to Ubergizmo.

Carlsberg, for example, hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic, according to The Guardian. Avantium posted a picture of Carlsberg's paper bottle on Instagram.

"It is a milestone in the development of high-value applications such as specialty bottles," said Marcel Lubben, Avantium's Managing Director, as LADbible reported. "The Paper Bottle shows how we, together with partners, can use innovation to help shape packaging for a circular and sustainable future."

The move towards a plant-based plastic from a sustainable source would mark a major step forward for Coca-Cola, which has consistently ranked as the world's worst plastic polluter, according to the advocacy-group Break Free From Plastic, as EcoWatch reported.

The millions of plastic products in the world are almost entirely derived from oils, which offer a complex arrangement of atoms that can be manipulated and rearranged to make plastics of varying strength, rigidity and opacity. They are cheap to produce, too, meaning it is often much more expensive to recycle them than it is to produce new ones. Of course, all that plastic made from oils takes hundreds of years to decompose, as CleanTechnica reported.

Around 300 million tons of plastic is made from fossil fuels every year, which is a major contributor to the climate crisis.

Beverage makers have been loath to leave behind profits, even if it means investing in a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-derived plastic. That may change with Avantium's new technology. The company says it "has found ways to start with plant sugars and transform them into a plastic capable of standing up to carbonated beverages like soda and beer but which will also break down in as little as a year in a composter or three years if left exposed to the elements," as CleanTechnica reported.

"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," said Tom van Aken, Avantium's chief executive, to The Guardian.

Van Aken told The Guardian that he hopes to have a major investment in the bioplastics plant by the end of 2020. The project, which has continued and remains on track despite the coronavirus lockdown, will reveal partnerships with other food and drink companies later in the summer. The hope is to have the product on store shelves by 2023.

The initial project will make about 5,000 tons of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets. It will assess how customers respond to the new bottles. Then, Avantium expects its production and scale to grow considerably as demand for the sustainable plastics increases, according to The Guardian.

Matthew Micah Wright / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen

There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scrap metal is loaded into a shredder at a metal recycling facility on July 17, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hunger strikers in Chicago are fighting the relocation of a metal shredding facility from a white North Side neighborhood to a predominantly Black and Latinx community on the Southeast Side already plagued by numerous polluting industries.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A new UK study links eating meat with increased risks for heart disease, diabetes and more. nata_zhekova / Getty Images

The World Health Organization has determined that red meat probably causes colorectal cancer in humans and that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. But are there other health risks of meat consumption?

Read More Show Less
A common cuttlefish like this can pass the "marshmallow test." Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cuttlefish, marine invertebrates related to squids and octopuses, can pass the so-called "marshmallow test," an experiment designed to test whether human children have the self-control to wait for a better reward.

Read More Show Less
Yogyakarta Bird Market, Central Java, Indonesia. Jorge Franganillo / CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

The straw-headed bulbul doesn't look like much.

It's less than a foot in length, with subdued brown-and-gold plumage, a black beak and beady red eyes. If you saw one sitting on a branch in front of you, you might not give it a second glance.

Read More Show Less