Coca Cola contemplates plant-based ‘plastics’ after being named the most polluting brand for a second year in a row
As a household brand in high demand, Coca Cola is a major culprit of pollution. The corporation manufactures a significant chunk of the 1 million plastic bottles that are bought per minute globally, 91% of which are not recycled. In 2019, Coca Cola was named the most polluting brand in the world for a second year running. With the recurring title, Coca Cola is starting to recognise the significance of their contribution to the plastic pollution problem and have declared a goal to transition to plant-based plastics.
Recently, the familiar ‘Coke’ company attempted to implement a plastic bottle recycle scheme in order to encourage consumers to reduce their waste. However, this approach proved to be unsuccessful, likely because it puts the burden of recycling on the consumer rather than reducing the manufacturing of plastic. Regardless of this attempt, there is clear evidence that recycling is not the solution to the plastic waste problem. Corporations that cause the contamination should, instead, hold themselves accountable by breaking away from plastics and producing environmentally friendly alternatives. The problem will only grow if it is not acted on, and the ‘break free from plastic’ movement is demanding that corporations reduce their production of single-use plastic and find innovative solutions that are focused on alternative delivery systems to reduce pollutants.
The Cola company seems to have realised the impacts of plastic waste and have planned the transition to plant-based alternatives to address this problem. The alternative plastic production process involves a bio-refinery that breaks down sustainable plant sugars into simple chemical compounds that are restructured into plant-based plastics. A renewable chemicals company called Avantium is set to develop the plant based plastic operation outsourced by Coca Cola. “This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do,” stated Tom Van Aken the chief executive of avantium. These new plant-plastic bottles are said to appear on the market by the year 2023. But the question remains, who will be the next biggest plastic polluter?