Pepsi’s New Bottle

Unless you’re living under a rock OR, like, me, don’t drink soda, you’ve heard about PepsiCo’s latest innovation. They are releasing their products in a new bottle made completely from plant-based materials. According to their website, these bottles are created from a base of plant materials that include switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. Eventually they want to create a “”green” bottle to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its foods business.”.

According to their press release, “Combining biological and chemical processes, PepsiCo has identified methods to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which results in a bottle that looks, feels and protects its product identically to existing PET beverage containers. PepsiCo will pilot production of the new bottle in 2012.  Upon successful completion of the pilot, the company intends to move directly to full-scale commercialization.”

While I am glad to see this sort of innovation, there are definitely unanswered questions:

1) Has any reputable source verified the claim that the bottles are, in actuality, 100% plant based?

2) Does this material break down any faster than the current PET bottles?

3) Even though they claim the bottles are plant-based, what types of safety testing have been done?

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has done research on this.




  1. Sgerbic said,

    March 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    First I’ve heard of this. Sounds like a good thing helping to wean us off oil products.

  2. Jay Walker said,

    March 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Until studies are done I would tend to lean toward the idea that PepsiCo is playing up the Naturalism Fallacy. Of course, it could be true that PepsiCo is making their bottles out of plant based components, this doesn’t mean that it is better than the plastic we have now. It does make a lot of sense from a business perspective. Given the Gulf oil spill and now the Japanese nuclear power problems, being seem as being “green” is a big plus. With so little anymore to distinguish themselves from the competition, being perceived as a “green” leader in the industry may be just what they need to gain market share.

  3. rob said,

    March 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    if the molecular structure is identical to oil based pet then it is pet, with all the same environmental problems.
    it more than likely requires more chemical processes to produce the same product so it may well have a larger net carbon footpprint per bottle but a nice marketing sound bite.

  4. latsot said,

    April 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    “The new bottle is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30 percent plant-based materials.”

    That’s not quite what they said at first, is it? Especially since most of the plant part is sugar cane, much of which is grown in places it really shouldn’t be.

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