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.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FEBRUARY 10: Pallets of Coke-Cola cans wait to the filled at a Coco-Cola bottling plant on February 10, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Current Coke president James Quincey will become CEO on May 1. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

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.

March 21, 2020: DHAKA, BANGLADESH – MARCH 21: Plastic bottle seen in the Buriganga river in Dhaka, Bangladesh on March 21, 2020…The chemical waste of mills and factories, household waste eventually makes the Buriganga River miserable, which is considered to be Dhaka’s lifeline. Thousands of people depend on the river daily for bathing, washing clothes, irrigation of food and transportation of goods. The river has suffered extreme biodiversity loss and has now turned narrow. A large swathe of the Buriganga River, which is the lifeline of the capital, has turned pitch-black with toxic waste, oil, and chemicals flowing into it from industrial units. And the river now going to be dead. (Credit Image: © Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/ZUMA Wire)

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 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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