Company pioneers plant-based plastic bottles

New bottles made from corn, wheat and beets to replace plastic bottles starting in 2023.

Laurel Kornfeld | May 21, 2020

Avantium, a renewable chemicals company based in the Netherlands, announced it has developed plastic bottles made solely from plant products and that Coca Cola, world food producer Danone, and Carlsberg, a beer-making company, plan to use the new bottles.

Tom van Aken, Avantium CEO, plans to reveal partnerships with additional food and beverage distribution companies this summer and is seeking major investment into the new product by year's end.

The new bio-plastic, which is strong enough to hold carbonated beverages, will be made via sugars from corn, beets, and wheat. While the company will initially produce 5,000 tons of the plastic each year, that amount is expected to increase with growing demand.

Carlsberg plans to sell its pilsner beer in cardboard bottles lined with plant plastic.

Eventually, Avantium hopes to make the plastic from sustainably sourced bio-waste, to prevent the harm depletion of plants would do to the global food chain.

Van Aken said development of the plant plastic is not being slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Plastic pollution has caused major damage to ocean life, and it is produced using fossil fuels, which worsen climate change. Currently, approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year.

"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," he said.

In contrast to fossil fuel-based microplastics, which take several hundred years to completely decompose, plant plastic decomposes in just one year with use of a composter and only several more years without one, Van Akers stated.

Unlike most standard plastics, which are not recycled, Van Akers said he hopes most plant plastic products will be recycled.

The bio-plastic will be made by breaking down sustainable plant sugars into simple chemical formations that can be manipulated into a plastic form without use of fossil fuels, he explained.

Current expectation is that the new plastic will be fully in use by 2023.