There’s a new bottle maker in town, and it could transform the entire plastics industry. It’s the result of a Dutch company who has been extensively researching how to manufacture a biodegradable bottle for large-scale use by some of the world’s largest beverage makers.
Avantium is the company in question, a biochemical company based in the Netherlands looking to get their all-plant bottle picked up drink makers worldwide. They’ve produced a plastic bottle through the synthesising of plant-based sugars - rather than fossil fuel-based means of production.
The crops are sustainably grown, according to Avantium, and were first picked up by beer manufacturer, Calsberg, who says it hopes to line a cardboard bottle with Avantium’s plant plastic to sell its pilsner.
If feasible, this new model could potentially replace the traditional PET plastic bottle or aluminum can. According to reports, Avantium’s plant-based plastics are “designed to be resilient enough to contain carbonate drinks. Trials have shown that the plant-based plastic is designed to be resilient enough for carbonated drinks, and shown in trials that it can decompose in one year in a compost environment, or “a few years” if in normal conditions; Van Aken says that the product has been designed to be recycled.
For its construction, Avantium says that bio-refinery plants can break down the plant sugars into chemical structures which can, in turn, be arranged into a form of plant-based plastic. It hopes to get this technology into supermarkets by 2023 after breaking news of its product and hoping investors will see the value and follow suit.
Avantium’s chief executive, Tom van Aken has told The Guardian that he hopes to secure a major investment by the end of the year, and add a number of high-profile partnerships - in addition to its existing collaborations - across the food and drink industries throughout the European summer.
“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.”
Van Aken says he remains confident in spite of the recent pandemic’s lockdowns thanks to the backing of Carlsberg, as well as Coca-Cola and Danone who are hoping to reduce their pollution footprint.
We’ve reported previously that Coca-Cola has been named the world’s worst plastic polluting brand, with executives at Coca-Cola citing customer demand as the primary reason for sticking with plastic bottles.
Avanitum says it will synthesise around 5,000 tonnes of plastic from corn, wheat or beets as it gains the attention of beverage manufacturers and the public. The company hopes its production will increase dramatically alongside public demand, and environmental considerations from manufacturers.
The company says its long term vision is to break down the plant sugars from sustainably sourced biowaste, meaning that if Avantium’s product became so popular worldwide, the manufacturing wouldn’t impact the globe’s food supply chain- it would simply utilise existing biowaste out there.