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JBF to build giant bio-glycol plant in Brazil to help Coca-Cola meet PlantBottle 2020 target

By Elaine WATSON , 28-Sep-2012
Last updated on 28-Sep-2012 at 18:49 GMT

JBF Industries will build a giant new plant in Brazil dedicated to the production of the recyclable PET material used in Coca-Cola's PlantBottles to help the soft drinks giant meet its goal of making every plastic bottle a PlantBottle by 2020.

The bottles, which are up to 30% plant-based and available in 24 countries, are fully recyclable and can be processed through existing systems. 

Ronald J. Lewis, vice president, procurement & chief procurement officer at Coca-Cola said: “In 2009, we introduced the world to our PlantBottle package – the first recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants.

“Today, Coca-Cola has sold more than 10bn PlantBottle packages around the world that are less dependent on petroleum and have a lower carbon impact.”

Under the deal, JBF will build the world’s largest facility to produce bio-glycol - the key ingredient used to make PlantBottles.

The new facility, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will produce the ingredient using locally sourced sugarcane and sugarcane processing waste.

Construction will begin at the end of this year and take two years. At full capacity, it is estimated the site will produce 500,000 metric tons of material per year.

 PlantBottles: The next generation...

While it is possible to create 100% plant-based HDPE from sugarcane based ethanol for juice-based products such as Odwalla, HDPE is not suitable for packaging fizzy drinks because it has a higher gas permeability, and is not ideal for bottled waters because it is translucent, a spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA last year.

But creating fully plant-based PET was tougher, she explained. “Our PET PlantBottle is up to 30% plant-based because we developed an innovative solution to one element of PET plastic: monoethylene glycol (MEG). 

“MEG is approximately 30% by weight of the material in PET. We’re working to identify a solution made from plants for purified terephthalic acid (PTA), the other 70% of PET by weight.

 “We’re working with partners to crack the code on plant-based (PTA). This involves new science but we’ve got some of the smartest minds in the field focused on it today.”

And while Coca-Cola is using sugar cane today, it is also exploring other raw materials, she added:  “We’re working with several R&D partners, including researchers at universities and research institutes globally, to advance technologies to extract sugar from plant wastes for future generations of PlantBottle packaging.

“So, while we’re using sugar cane today, we also expect to be able to use natural resources like stems, fruit peels and bark in the near future.”

 

 

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