Beverage giants Coca-Cola and Carlsberg have given their backing to an exciting new plant-based plastic being developed by Dutch biochemical company Avantium.
This planet-friendly material, intended to completely decompose within just one year, would use plastics made from plant sugars as opposed to fossil fuels; tackling both plastic pollution and the overuse of fossil fuels.
This material would be used to create a protective, recyclable layer within a cardboard bottle, replacing regular containers while helping to reduce the carbon footprint inflicted by drinks manufacturers.
It’s hoped these innovative new containers will be on shelves by 2023, paving the way for a greener industry.
As reported by The Guardian, Avantium is designing the material to ensure it will be resilient enough to hold carbonated drinks.
So far, trials have demonstrated that the material can decompose within the year using a composter, or within a few years if the product is left outside in normal conditions. However, under ideal circumstances, this plastic should always be recycled after use.
Avantium’s chief executive, Tom van Aken, hopes to greenlight a major investment by the close of the 2020, with the project remaining on course despite the ongoing global health crisis. Partnerships with other food and beverage businesses are expected to be announced later this summer.
According to The Guardian, Van Aken said:
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.
As per statistics provided by Surfers Against Sewage, plastic pollution can now be seen on every single beach across the the world, with scientists having even recently found microplastics deeply embedded in the ice of the Arctic.
Back in 1950, a global population of 2.5 billion produced an approximate 1.5 million tons of plastic. By 2016, a population of more than seven billion produced more than 320 million tons of plastic. This figure is expected to double by 2034.
— Avantium (@Avantium) May 12, 2020
Avantium intends to break down sustainable plant-based sugars into simple chemical structures that may then be rearranged to form this new material.
Initially, the project will manufacture a relatively low 5,000 tonnes of plant-plastic annually, using sugar from corn, wheat and beets. However, production is anticipated to grow in line with increased demand for renewable plastics.
As the project progresses, Avantium intends to use plant sugars from sustainably sourced biowaste so the global food supply chain will not be impacted by the rise of plant-based plastic.
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