Nike has plants on its mind. The sportswear juggernaut has joined forces with Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, and Heinz to “accelerate the development and use” of 100 percent plant-based plastic, according to an announcement on Tuesday. The freshly minted Plant PET Technology Collaborative will focus on petroleum-free alternatives to polyethylene terephthalate—better known as PET—a durable, lightweight plastic found in beverage containers, apparel, footwear, and automotive fabric and carpeting.
The collaboration will build upon the success of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging, 30 percent of which is derived from sugarcane and molasses. As it result, it reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent in comparison with conventional PET plastic. (Heinz currently licenses the technology for select ketchup bottles in the United States and Canada.)
The collaboration will build upon the success of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging, which is partially derived from plants.
By leveraging the research and development efforts of its founding members, the PTC is “taking the lead to affect positive change across multiple industries,” notes the press release. “Fossil fuels like oil have significant impacts to the planet’s biodiversity, climate and other natural systems,” says Erin Simon, senior program officer for packaging at the World Wildlife Fund. “Sustainably managing our natural resources and finding alternatives to fossil fuels are both business and environmental imperatives. It’s encouraging to see these leading companies use their market influence to reduce dependence on petroleum-based plastics.”
The alliance would do well to consult with Toray Industries, a Japanese textile firm that claimed in December to have created the world’s first fully renewable, bio-based PET fibers. Neither is Coca-Cola the first company to promote greener packaging. In 2011, PepsiCo unveiled a plastic bottle made entirely from bio-based resources such as pine bark, switch grass, and corn husks. The company, which owns the Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, and Frito-Lay brands, is planning to explore other materials such as orange skins, potato peels, and oat hulls.
Perhaps their invites got lost in the mail?