PET, rPET: A Sustainable Future

Launching originally as Planet Green Bottle, demand from early adopters led to the creation of The Planet Bottle Corporation (TPB) which uses Reverte technology – developed by UK based Wells Plastics – to make it oxo-biodegradable. Water Innovation talks to TPB President Eleanor Reynolds

The Planet Bottle is designed to oxo-biodegrade through the inclusion of Reverte additive. What is Reverte and how does it work?

TPB is manufactured with 100% rPET supplemented by Reverte which renders its oxo-biodegradable. Oxo-biodegradable technology has been used for 20 years to biodegrade plastic film and bags and has been legislated by many countries.

There is a movement by countries to eliminate plastic bags – and we believe bottles will follow. Italy has banned plastic bags unless they are biodegradable (see page 5). The Planet Bottle deals with the problem that 72% of PET bottles go to landfill or the environment and are not recycled.

Many bottlers are using increasing proportions of rPET. Does TPB use rPET and does Reverte work with rPET ?

For over a year we have been advocating a total switch to 100% rPET – with Reverte – to deal with the reality that some companies are largely unsuccessful in their weak pursuit of a socially responsible position on recycling and reuse. Non-beverage PET bottles are largely not recycled.

A biodegradable additive is starting to be demanded by the consumer as a necessary permanent total solution. We think that recycling is good, but 100% rPET with Reverte is best.

The inclusion of rPET has led to the opportunity to educate consumers about their roll in closing the recycling loop. How do consumers react to the concept of biodegradable and is their understanding and acceptance growing?

TPB was invented out of the perception that the consumer was beginning to have real concerns on the impact of plastics on the environment. It is generally believed that plastic bottles will last in landfills or the environment for perhaps 1,000 years.

We think that recycling is good, but 100% rPET with Reverte is best

PET plastic bottles were invented only 60 years ago and we already have a problem. The answer is 100% rPET for the 100 billion PET bottles recycled and oxo-biodegradable for the 300 billion not recycled!

Consumers today are educated more than ever, children are assisting them in their purchasing decisions. The educational curriculum in elementary schools in the United States includes knowledge and education devoted to eco-friendly concepts. Consumers are demanding eco-choices when it comes to the decision factor on shelf. They analyse packaging and brand owners have noticed this and are continuously seeking innovative packaging concepts. To reinforce this, we work with brand owners to carry the TPB logo which clearly identifies the greenest choice on the shelf: ‘The Planet Bottle – Bottles that won’t cost The Earth!’

Can Reverte work with plant based PET options?

TPB is manufactured with 100% rPET and is oxo-biodegradable over 10-20 years. The PlantBottle is manufactured from 35% sugar cane and 65% from virgin PET pellets – therefore ‘biodegradable’ over perhaps 1,000 years.

PLA based bottles are growing rapidly. Only the smaller companies can go the road of PLA because of the needs of collection and industrial composting. Likely a positive long-term movement. Availability and price are an issue. We see PLA as a good thing.

What have been TPB’s greatest successes?

TPB’s early successes were predicting the future. Our success stories are coming only from brand owners who are serious and willing to do their homework. As examples: Alberta has a deposit law and 80% recycle rate for PET bottles. A large private label company in Alberta received the exclusive contract for the G-8 and G-20 Conferences in Toronto. We have a contract with a branch of the US Military that wants PET bottles to disappear 10-20 years after they pull out of Afghanistan. We are negotiating to go to 100% rPET with Reverte with a water company in Quebec where the largest competitors have already gone 100% rPET.

Brand owners doing their homework find that 100% rPET is not enough if they are to convince the consumer that they are eco-leaders. TPB is working with brand owners who are eager to be first to market with the greenest bottle on the planet, swaying consumer purchase power from their competition.

What next for TPB?

It is obvious to TPB that the early adopters can have a first move advantage by going to 100% rPET before their competition. TPB has an easy time selling to a competitor who has been trumped by a rival brand that moves to 100% rPET and misses the oxo-biodegradable feature. The biggest impact of TPB will likely come from the non-water category. TPB offers premium brand owners a process or method to enhance their brand by sending a strong eco-message to consumers by packaging or bottling their branded products in containers that have been manufactured with the qualities afforded by oxo-biodegradable technology. From household chemicals, personal care, food and drug, wines, spirits, beverages. Everything PET, everything should become The Greenest Bottle.

Source: Water Innovation Issue: 64

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