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TECH SPACE
Plastic bottle from plant waste developed

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Purchase, N.Y. (UPI) Mar 17, 2011
PepsiCo says it has developed a plastic bottle made completely of plant materials like switch grass, pine bark and corn husks instead of petroleum.

In inventing what it calls the world's first plastic bottle created entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources, the company said it had "cracked the code," the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

At the molecular level, the new bottle is identical to existing plastic bottles made with polyethylene terephthalate resin, or PET.

The biggest difference is that making it does not require the use of petroleum, utilizing renewable plant materials instead.

The new bottle will be as strong and transparent as current bottles, being the chemical equal to the current PET plastic bottles, said Denise Lefebvre, senior director of advanced research at PepsiCo.

The breakthrough was finding the correct fermentation process using plant material, she said.

In making PET, the polyethylene makes up about 30 percent of the total by weight. That part was already being made out of plant materials; what PepsiCo discovered was how to make the second part of PET, the terephthalate, out of plant waste, the Times reported.

"We've been the one to crack the code on that," Lefebvre said.

Combining the technologies allows for a bottle made entirely from plants, she said.



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