Friday, April 1, 2011

Pepsi Goes Green

By Courtney Leiva

Pepsi made the decision to create a plastic drinking bottle made from entirely plant based materials.

According to ABC news, the popular beverage company is going to develop its first plastic bottle made of nothing but renewable materials such as corn husks, switch grass, and pine bark. The company also plans to use its own food by products such as orange and potato peels from their other business such as Tropicana and Frito Lay Chips.

Pepsi’s decision is no doubt a greener one, as plant based products are proven to have fewer effects on the environment.

In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Pittsburg, bottles made with plant based plastics were found to be less toxic and more biodegradable in comparison to bottles made with petroleum.

Although Pepsi’s announcement seems to be a groundbreaking one, Pepsi’s rival company, Coca-Cola once made a plant based drinking bottle launched in the year 2009.

Production process was described by Coke as “an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by product of sugar production, into a key component for PET(polyethylene terephtalate) plastic.” Coke’s “PlantBottle” was made from only 30 percent plant based materials.

In comparison and nearly a year later, Pepsi’s bottle which will be made from 100 per cent plant based materials. In a recently released statement by the company, Coke was still years away from a 100 percent plant based bottle.

Pepsi’s own plant based PET bottle looks and feels like the structure of petroleum based bottles even though it does not use or deplete the natural resource.

Although this does mean that Pepsi is trying to reduce their carbon footprint, the issue of the continued use and waste of PET plastic consumption is still at large.

Over the years plastic bottle production has had a harmful effect on our environment. Most plastic drinking bottles are made from petroleum, a non renewable resource. Plastic bottle production depletes these fossil fuels as it requires lots of energy just to make one single plastic bottle.

In 2001, the World Wide Nature Fund reported that roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic were used in the production of bottling about 89 billion liters of water each year. That was only ten years ago. Imagine what this figure is like now in 2011!

Pepsi’s newest bottle will be recyclable but not compostable or biodegradable. Unfortunately this means that bottle, like most plastic bottles, will probably end up in a landfill somewhere.

Pepsi’s greener efforts however, should not be ignored.

Pepsi’s decision has received much praise as Allen Hershkowitz from the Natural Resources Defense council said, “It was the beginning of the end for petroleum-based plastic bottles.”

Pepsi has also developed other green food products. Frito-Lay, for example, launched the very first compostable Sun Chips bag according to USA Today.

In 2009, Naked Juice, changed its original packaging to create ‘reNEWabottles’, which are made from 100 percent post consumer recycled PET resin.

Look for Pepsi’s plant bottles are expected to hit stores sometime in 2012.

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