We badly wanted to believe that plant-based PET bottles would solve our plastic woes, but that is not the case, according to a recent Slate story. Although PepsiCo’s 100% plant-based PET bottles have a lower carbon footprint and use renewable sources, as do these Heinz bottles made by Coca Cola, they are not biodegradable. So, unfortunately, when it comes to ending up in landfills, plant-based plastics are every bit as harmful to the environment as their petroleum-based predecessors.
Founder of the 5 Gyres project that monitors plastic pollution in the oceans, Marcus Eriksen told Slate that Pepsi and Coke are using plants “to make the same polymers you find in other plastics. It has zero effect on plastic pollution.” There’s also good reason to believe that bottles made from ethanol contain phthalates and bisphenol A – the compounds associated with obesity, autism, and various types of cancer.
Bio-resins may be recyclable, but new Pepsi and Coke bottles are neither biodegradable nor recycled. Consumers can be misled to think that renewable and plant-based bottles can be used ad infinitum, whereas recycled bottles encourage a more responsible reuse mentality.
Until now, both beverage giants have eschewed effective bottling bills that require manufacturers to give consumers incentive to recycle, preferring to spend their money on splashy R&D programs instead. Naked Juice, Naya Water, and Eldorado Water are among a handful of companies that do make bottles made from 100% recycled materials. Where there is a will…