The Suntory Group announced today that the company has successfully developed a prototype PET bottle made from 100% plant-based materials. This is a critical step towards the goal of using only 100% sustainable PET bottles worldwide by 2030 and removing all petroleum-based PET bottles from the chain. This new prototype was produced for the company’s famous Orangina brand in Europe, and for Japan’s best-selling bottled mineral water brand, Suntory Tennensui. The announcement marks a breakthrough after a nearly ten-year partnership with sustainable technology company Anellotech in the United States.
This achievement reinforces the strong momentum of Suntory Beverage & Food Europe (SBFE) in its ongoing work toward a circular plastic economy. This is done by developing sustainable materials, adopting circular processes, investing in advanced recycling technologies (as done in the innovative partnership with Carbios – pioneer in enzymatic recycling), as well as encouraging behavioral change among consumers. Suntory aims to commercialize the 100% vegan bottle as soon as possible to achieve the goal of only sustainable PET bottles by 2030.
PET uses two raw materials, 70% terephthalic acid (PTA) and 30% monoethylene glycol (MEG). By integrating with the new technology from Anellotech, Suntory vegetable bottle prototype was created. This new technology consists of vegetable paraxylene derived from wood chips and converted into vegetable PTA and vegetable MEG found from molasses. This technology has been used by Suntory Corporation for the Suntory Tennensui brand in Japan since 2013. The fully recyclable plant-based bottle is estimated to have significantly lower CO2 emissions compared to a petroleum-based bottle. This is a significant contribution to the company’s path to transition to net zero emissions by 2050.
“We are pleased with this achievement as it brings us closer to bringing sustainable PET bottles to consumers, “zegt Tsunehiko Yokoi, CEO van Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert Ltd.”The significance of this technique is that PTA is produced from non-food biomass to avoid competition with the food chain, while MEG is also derived from non-food raw materials.“
This state-of-the-art technology enables SBFE to realize the Suntory Group’s ambition to use only plastics made from post-consumer waste or plant materials. The company produces only 100% recycled plastic bottles on several of its brands, including Maytea and Pulco. Additionally, the company is on track as it looks to gradually increase rPET to reach 100% in Schweppes and Orangina by 2023.”SBF EECM-Benelux is active in more than 50 markets in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The company cannot rely solely on existing technologies and materials to achieve the transition to and phase out of the circular economy using virgin petroleum-based PET. We need to invest in innovations that support our transition to sustainable plastics over the long term and in all regions. That’s why I’m glad to see another Suntory partnership reach such a crucial point in the innovation process,” says Alexis Daems, COO SBF EECM-Benelux. He notes the launch of the world’s first Orangina bottle made from the enzymatic recycling process earlier this year. With the company’s beverage packaging designed for hands-on recycling, the company fully supports the acceleration of Recycling systems across Europe, including expansion of deposit systems, as in the Netherlands, and improvement of waste management infrastructure.
Vincent Meron, Director of Research and Development Van SBFE: “We believe that plastic, when produced and recycled in a responsible way, plays an important role in the production of soft drinks. Today’s announcement shows that we can use wood chips and molasses and turn them into recyclable plastic. In the future, we will combine this new bioplastic with plastic made from post-consumer waste. This enables us to move away from plastic bottles made from fossil fuels. This also contributes to our activities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. “
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