In the long-anticipated arrival of spring, one color should prevail in everyone’s mind; a fresh, crisp, neon hue of green. Green grass, green leaves, and, perhaps most significantly, green initiatives are blossoming in the seasonal warmth. It is only fitting that Pepsi prepare for the season of restoration by making promising new strides in the field of eco-conscious product manufacturing.
According to peachygreen.com, PepsiCo announced the development of the world’s first totally plant-based, bio-degradable, petroleum free plastic bottle. Bottles are scheduled to go into production in 2012 and will be comprised of various food byproducts, including switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and eventual orange peels, oat hulls and potato scraps.
Plastic has been the prevalent choice of packaging over the span of recent history. Investorchatroom.com explains that plastic’s popularity has been based in its lack of health consequences, shatter resistant composition, recyclability, and lack of effect on flavor content. Rising oil prices and environmental impact have prompted many to seriously research and consider a vast range of alternatives.
According to greengadgeting.com, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is “a form of plastic and polyester” used heavily by PepsiCo and other manufacturers: PET bottles account for 30 percent of overall PET production. The same website notes that the recent development could bring forth a “significant environmental impact”.
Coca-Cola has produced a bottle that employs 30 percent plant-based materials over the past few years, according to thequirkyglobe.blogspot.com. Some have noted that PepsiCo’s announcement appears to be based in response to Coca-Cola’s estimation that a commercial viable 100 percent plant-based bottle would not be available for several years. The competing cola giant has stated that packaging advances are “welcome” and that it has begun testing on its own 100 percent plant-based bottle.
PepsiCo produces 19 different food and beverage product lines including Quaker, Gatorade, and Frito-Lay. Allen Hershkowitz, director of the waste management project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, has provided the following statement on the new development: “This is the beginning of the end of petroleum-based plastics … When you have a company of this size making a commitment to a plant-based plastic, the market is going to respond.”
How will the new packaging affect the taste of the product itself? “It’s indistinguishable,” according to Rocco Papalia, senior vice-president of advanced research at Pepsi.
PepsiCo plans to convert all of its products to the plant-based packaging upon the prospective success of the new bottles.