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Feb 1, 2018 / Richard Hall

Responsible business – Suntory

Many companies are exploring new ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials and waste.

I am still hesitant about bio-degradable packaging because it can’t be recycled, it takes years to degrade and it might discourage consumers from collecting used packs.

I am much more in favour of bio-based materials, which are derived from food or plant waste.

At present, there are various examples of 30% plant-based PET bottles which can be fully recycled, but none that is 100% plant-based. The technology exists, but not as a commercially viable proposition.

Japan’s Suntory is seeking to do just that. Last month it invested $9 million in a sustainable technology company called Anellotech.

Anellotech is aiming to produce cost-competitive new materials from non-food biomass that will not only enable the commercial development of 100% plant-based PET bottles but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The target is to have multiple plants in commercial scale operation within 10 years. I’d say we could all benefit from this investment.

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  1. Jamal / Feb 1 2018

    Would such plant based materials be fully biodegradable as well?

    • Richard Hall / Feb 2 2018

      No. This is the cause of much confusion. As I understand it, plant-based PET is still PET. PET does not bio-degrade. But it is fully recyclable.

      Other plant-based materials may bio-degrade. Bio-degradability may not be better and could be a lot worse.

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