Plant Plastic: Future of Plastic Is in Plants, not Petroleum
We use a staggering 2 million plastic bottles every five minutes in the United States, the large majority of which are PET plastic. And our rate of recycling is worse than dismal: not quite 13 percent nationwide.
Glimmers of hope are emerging. In states with mandatory recycling laws, the recycling rates are almost 28 percent for PET plastic. Only 10 states have the so-called "bottle bills," yet those states have the highest rate of recycling in the country. Of these, two made major headway in 2010:
- California reached 82 percent recycling; and
- Washington state achieved an overall recycling rate of 49 percent.
It begs the question: What would happen if the rest of the country implemented similar laws?
Plastic is a large expense in the beverage industry. The global price of oil directly affects the type of plastic being produced. In 2008, when the price of oil soared to more than $100 per barrel, companies began scrambling to find alternatives to plastic bottles.
Enter bioplastics. Several companies have created bottles made from plant-based materials. Coca-Cola Company launched its Dasani PlantBottle, made with up to 30 percent plant-based material, and its Odwalla brand PlantBottle, made with 100 percent PLA (polylactide or polylactic acid), a polymer made from renewable plant materials.
Another beverage company to make the switch is Nature's Bottles. Its PLA bottles are made from Ingeo, a purportedly non-GMO, corn-based material that is touted as the world’s first biopolymer to show a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Image credit: http://www.plastech.biz/news/article_3725_1/Dow-to-test-plastic-waste-as-fuel-source