Heinz Adopts Coca-Cola PlantBottles

by | Feb 24, 2011

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Starting this summer, Heinz ketchup will be appearing in plant-based bottles developed by Coke.

The Coca-Cola Company and H.J. Heinz yesterday announced a partnership under which Heinz will start using Coke’s PlantBottle packaging for all 20-ounce ketchup containers.

The PET bottles are made partially from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and have a lower reliance on non-renewable resources than traditional PET bottles, Coke said. Up to 30 percent of PlantBottles comes from plants, and the bottles are fully recyclable.

There’s no difference between the PlantBottle and Coke’s old plastic bottles in shelf life, weight or appearance, according to Coca-Cola vice president of environment and water resources Jeff Seabright.

Heinz said its adoption of PlantBottle technology would be the biggest change to its ketchup bottles since the company introduced plastic containers in 1983. It said the packaging switch is an important step in its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, water consumption and energy usage by at least 20 percent by 2015.

The Heinz PlantBottles will launch in June and carry labels carrying a special logo and asking, “Guess what my bottle is made of?”

“PlantBottle™ is revolutionizing plastic, and our partnership with Heinz is paving the way for industry-wide collaboration,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company. “This partnership is a great example of how businesses are working together to advance smart technologies that make a difference to our consumers and the planet we all share.”

Coca-Cola first launched the PlantBottle in 2009 on brands including  Coke, Sprite, Fresca and Dasani. The packaging is currently available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and the company plans to expand it to over a dozen new markets in 2011. It aims to replace all its plastic packaging with PlantBottles by 2020.

Coke subsidiary Odwalla has developed an HDPE PlantBottle made of up to 100 percent plant matter, and it plans to transition all of the brand’s single-serve health beverage bottles to the packaging in March 2011.

An initial life-cycle analysis by Imperial College London showed that the PET PlantBottle provides a 12 to 19 percent reduction in carbon impact, Coca-Cola said.

In 2010 alone, the use of PlantBottle packaging eliminated the equivalent of almost 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, Coke said.

Last October, it was reported that Heinz has reduced its carbon emissions by 17,000 tons since 2006 at its UK factories in Kendal, Cumbria and Kitt Green.

Also in October, a study by Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow gave Heinz an “A” grade for using BPA-free can linings for some products and for also providing an estimated timeline to eliminate the chemical from all product packaging. But Coke got an F in the ratings.

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