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100% Bio-Plastic Water Bottles Trickle Into Marketplace

GreenPlanetbioplasticbottleA new trend emerging in the bottled water market is bio-plastic bottles made 100 percent from plants, as opposed to the mixed composition bottles that came out in recent years. The latest eco-bottles come from Green Planet Bottling and Keystone Water Company.

Green Planet launched a new water brand in a 100-percent plant-based bottle that is toxin-free and carbon neutral, compared to popular plastic bottles containing petroleum and BPA, according to a press release. They are also reusable, recyclable and compostable in 80 days.

The company says for every 72 plant-based bottles produced, they save one gallon of oil. The bottles also use 65 percent less energy and fuel to produce.

As for the water, it is vapor-distilled for purity and when possible sourced within 500 miles of its destination to lower its environmental impact. Green Planet water is currently available in a 16.9 oz. bottle. One liter and 12 oz. bottles will be introduced this spring.

Similarly, Keystone Water Company unveiled its re:newal premium spring water, which features a 100 percent plant-based bottle and label, nationally at the Green Products Expo in New York City.

The bottles are made from Ingeo plant-based plastic from NatureWorks. The plastic, also known as PLA or polylactide, emits fewer greenhouse gases and uses less energy than other plastic bottles, according to Keystone. It’s also recyclable and compostable.

The company just completed a successful pilot across the state of Florida and the Southeast United States, where the water is sourced and bottled. The company attributes part of the success to the state’s voluntary ‘green lodging’ program to help businesses transition to a more eco-efficient model.

Other companies such as Nestle and PepsiCo are also moving toward renewable plastics but aren’t quite there yet. As an example, Nestle announced several goals in 2008 that call for the development of a bottle with up to 25 percent recycled PET by 2013, and bottles made entirely from recycled materials or renewable materials, such as bioplastics, by 2020. Nestle’s re-source natural spring water is packaged in a bottle made from 25 percent recyclable plastic and is 100 percent recyclable.

PepsiCo continues to reduce the amount of plastics used in its beverage bottles. One of the newest is Aquafina’s half-liter Eco-Fina plastic water bottle that is made with 50 percent less plastic. In 2008, Pepsi cut the amount of plastic used in its 500ml non-carbonated beverage bottles by 20 percent.

Coca-Cola last year began testing its plant-based PET bottle earlier this year on the U.S. West Coast, under the Dasani water brand. The bottle is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and as much as 30 percent plant-based materials in the U.S.

Since then, Coke’s Plant Bottle has been rolled out to other brands.

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16 thoughts on “100% Bio-Plastic Water Bottles Trickle Into Marketplace

  1. This stuff is a major “greenwash”… I have studied this for the beverage industry for a number of years, and the pitch is very misleading, and the assumptions made when calculating their data is suspect. For instance, what they don’t tell you is that it will require potentially 50%-75% more of their material to make the same half liter bottle with the same functionality, negating any true energy or carbon ro oil savings. What they also don’t tell you, is that while theoretically recyclable, there is no opportunity to recycle the material, so it winds up in the landfill, or contaminates the existing PET recycling stream. Even when composted, this material offers no value to the end product of the compost. There are many, many good reasons why the major beverage companies don’t use this stuff … it is way more hype than substance…

  2. Will someone please explain to me why making bottles compostable is important? Or even desirable? Is it a litter thing? It certainly isn’t important if the bottles end up in a landfill. In my mind it only makes sense if there are sufficient composting facilities to handle them all. Is NatureWorks or their customers starting compost facilities for these bottles? The only other justfication I can think of is reducing the import of foreign petrochemical products, which has nothing to do with the compostability issue. Am I the only one confused?

  3. The reality is that even if all individuals on their own used reusable water bottles, there are just too many reasons outside of that which require mobile water in some type of “disposable” container. Let’s just take a VERY simple example — water in the airport or on an airplane; use plastic and people complain, use compostable and people complain, use aluminum and people complain. Personally, I like compostable so long as there is a place to compost it. Composting really is going to be a major trend for the next two years, and we’re going to learn a lot through innovation and the public asking questions as to what is actually doable to compost on a large scale. Certainly asking what is the end product of the compost and how it is used, including reducing ANY toxicity in that compost material is going to be key. Just as is asking if you can compost the container in your backyard or if it has to go to a high-heat composting facility. Will there be a universal composting label(s) that will help us in all of this? How can the labeling be used to help us avoid contaminating the petro recycling effort? It is good that we are talking about these things, finally, and that the public is starting to wake up.

  4. In addition to what the bottle is made of, a major problem with bottled water is the privatization of the world’s declining fresh water supply and the environmental and social justice abuses that are perpetrated by the bottled water companies. I recommend that you watch Flow for more information on this topic. http://www.flowthefilm.com/

  5. Jeff, I’m curious since you are an “expert” what are the reasons why the major beverage companies don’t start using a more sustainable bottle? Even if, as you say, the PLA bottles use more material, at least they aren’t directly derived from a hydrocarbon source. Hydrocarbons aren’t renewable and therefore can’t be relied on forever. Secondly, a percentage of plastic does end up floating around in the ocean or as litter in our environment. Doesn’t is behoove us to have a product that will go away if it ends up as liter? I’m sure cost is a major concern to the beverage companies in deciding whether or not to provide biodegradable containers. But it is/or at least should be their responsibility as a corporation to provide the consumer with a product that will have the least possible impact on the planet. Every major beverage company has a “sustainability report” and yet they still don’t make the most sustainable of choices. Seems then that you can’t only pin greenwashing on the maker of these bottles…

  6. Beth, it turns out that there are unintended consequences for every decision we make. Recycling is one piece of the environmental puzzle. Recycling here in the U.S. is a miserable failure. With less than 30 percent of plastic bottles recycled most plastic will end up in a landfill. You won’t find a lot of plastic bottles (PETE) (No.1) floating around in the ocean. Once the container no longer holds air it will sink…PETE is heavier than water and won’t float. One answer is biodegradable plastic. It isn’t the perfect answer either but with most plastic going to a landfill, biodegradable plastic will help reduce plastic waste. When biodegradable plastic like the ENSO bottle biodegrades it produces humus and biogases. Biogases also known as landfill gases are being captured and used for methane to energy programs. What better use of our trash than to turn it into clean energy?
    Max
    http://www.ensobottles.com
    “Bottles for a Healthier Earth”

  7. I think there is one thing that seems to be forgotten when talking about green issues. The thing is that this compostable bottle comes from plants that can be used better to feed hungery people in Africa and in the poor countries around the world.

    The use of plants to meet consumption requirements may also result in deforestation which can impact the weather (storms, floods, etc.).

    Mohammed

  8. Bottled water is not going to be banned anytime soon. So I think this is a great achievement and look forward to the end of plastic drinking water bottles and also safer drinking water. I only wish they would not “add back” minerals to the distilled water. That can be safely done with a pinch of sea salt.

  9. “The thing is that this compostable bottle comes from plants that can be used better to feed hungery people in Africa and in the poor countries around the world.”

    Overpopulation needs to be addressed. We have too many people and too few resources. The world would be better served if we spent more time teaching family planning in poor countries so we can help end future world hunger.

  10. Biodegradable plastic and packaging is a modern necessity for our ever-endangered environment.
    Now PLA has been used to line the indoors of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining additional usually used, create Plastic Cups, Plates, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.
    Eco Pure is our proprietary blend of organic materials that does not modify the base resin to which it is added.

    Thanks a lot for your information

  11. I’ve talked to many recyclers and commercial composters and they simply say they don’t want the PLA materials. Whether they’re resistant to change is yet to be untold. Many say it contaiminates recycling and doesn’t break down fast enough in a commercial composting setting. Some beleive it’s a step in the right direction; however, it still produces a culture of using one-use disposable items. I do understand that there are wearhouses around the U.S. filled with corn. But producing water bottles is not the answer to using all that corn. We need to be using it for food. Most of the corn that comes form the Mid-West is genetically modified and fertilizers and petrochemicals get washed down the Mississippi everyday from anthropgenic sources. We all need to get off the convienant bottle water crap and BYOB (bring your own bottle). If you don’t like the taste of your municipal water source than put in a water filtration system. WE all need to be looking in the direction of spatial long-term thinking and say good-bye to short-term temporal thinking.

  12. What is good is we are headed to a greener mother earth for sure. There will always be pros and cons regarding the corn component of PLA. Somebody should just invent using plants that are not edible to humans if possible.

  13. If someone is to be Very careful and wants to use the best (most environmentally friendly) bottle for a product (water for example) which would be the best? PET PETE HDPE? Other than glass. Or if Glass was to be used, would that hurt sales. Glass has obviously has to be cared for more than plastic.

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