MILAN – Danone and Nestlé Waters, present in Italy through the Sanpellegrino Group, the world’s two largest leading companies in the bottled water industry, have joined forces with ORIGIN Materials, a biotech company based in Sacramento, California, to form the NaturALL Bottle Alliance. Together, the three partners aim to develop and market a bio-based PET plastic bottle, made with 100% sustainable and renewable materials. The project will use biomass raw materials, such as used cardboard and sawdust, so it does not divert resources or land intended for food production for human or animal consumption. The technology is a genuine scientific breakthrough for the sector and the alliance between the partners aims to make it available to the entire food and beverage industry.
Nestlé Waters and Danone have been committed for decades to commercially sustainable practices aimed at constantly improving their environmental performance and implementing a circular economy. Most of these endeavours are dedicated to the development of innovative recyclable packaging solutions, produced with renewable resources, as well as the promotion of recycling. The two companies, which individually have noted the unique approach of ORIGIN Materials, have agreed to join forces to accelerate the development of this promising technology.
“Our goal is to establish a circular economy in the packaging sector, starting with sustainable materials and giving a second life to all types of plastic” explained Frederic Jouin, Danone’s Research & Development Manager for plastics, “we believe that is possible to both replace traditional fossil materials with ‘bio-based’ packaging materials created with sustainable materials. By working and bringing together our respective expertise and resources, NaturALL Bottle Alliance can expedite the development of 100% renewable and recyclable PET plastic, on a commercial scale”.
Danone and Nestlé Waters will provide ORIGIN Materials with not only the financial support but also their know-how and the team required to make this technology available to the entire food and beverage industry in record time.
The new generation PET
This new generation PET will be just as light, transparent, and recyclable and protective of products as the PET used today but, at the same time, will help to safeguard our planet. The exclusive use of renewable raw materials that do not divert resources or land in food production is the main area of interest of this alliance. The Research and Development sector will focus firstly on cardboard, sawdust and wood chips, not excluding however further studies into other biomass materials such as rice husks, straw and agricultural residues.
“The current technology available makes it possible to produce PET with 30% renewable resources”, explains John Bissell, CEO of ORIGIN Materials, “Our innovative technology aims to reach 100% bio-based production of bottles on a commercial scale. Thanks to the help of our partners, ORIGIN Materials will succeed in making the wide-scale availability of a technology that has so far only been tested at pilot level.”
A revolution for all concerned in the packaging sector
NaturALL Bottle Alliance’s partners strongly believe that everyone should benefit from this new material; this is why the new technology will be accessible to the entire beverage sector. This unique approach is further proof of the commitment of the three organisations towards open innovation and corporate sustainability.
“It is incredible to think that, in the not too distant future, the industry will be able to use a product packaging material with renewable resources that don’t harm food production and contribute to safeguarding our planet”, comments Klaus Hartwig, Research and Development Manager at Nestlé Waters, “This is why we believe it is essential to join forces in this alliance to develop this innovative technology on a large scale and in the shortest time possible. It is an extraordinary project and we are proud to be part of it”.
A revolution in the packaging sector in record times
ORIGIN Materials has already produced samples of 80% bio-based PET in its pilot plant in Sacramento. The creation of a “pioneer plant” will begin in 2017, while the production of the first 60% bio-PET prototypes will be launched in 2018. The initial goal, in terms of volume, for this first step is to bring to market 5,000 metric tons of bio-based PET. Thanks to the complimentary expertise and shared vision of the partners, NaturALL Bottle Alliance aims to develop the technical process to produce 95% bio-PET plastic bottles on a commercial scale by 2022. The partners will continue to conduct research to increase the level of material produced from renewable resources with the aim of bringing it up to 100%.
After years of study and research, in 2013 Levissima launched onto the Italian mineral water market the revolutionary Bio Based PET bottle, 30% of which is produced from renewable plant-based sources. In all respects, PET is a genuinely safe mineral water container, keeping all of its characteristics intact - it is lightweight, unbreakable, perfectly hygienic and suitable for carbonated drinks. PET, together with glass, is still one of the safest “containers” currently used for storing food and drink such as water, which must maintain its original purity from source to table.
by Alessandro Conte
March 6, 2017