In a bid to court environmentally-savvy customers, Coca-Cola unveiled the PlantBottle, a recyclable water bottle made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30% plant-based materials (sugar and molasses). The Dasani brand will pilot the new bottle that will eventually be used for Vitaminwater and other carbonated drinks. Unlike other plant-based bottles, the PlantBottle can be processed through existing recycling and manufacturing facilities.
The PlantBottle is undoubtedly a worthwhile innovation, as it reduces carbon emissions by up to 25% compared to petroleum-based bottles. That's a drastic cut in emissions considering the millions of Dasani bottles manufactured each year. It's a great marketing line, too—Coca-Cola plans on identifying the bottles with "on-package messaging and in-store point of sale displays". But is it enough to save—or at least prop up—an industry plagued by falling sales and symbolic bans by local governments?
Dasani's new bottle doesn't change the fact that bottled water uses 2,000 times the amount of energy in production as tap water. And ultimately, Dasani is still just tap water in a bottle. Still, nothing beats the convenience of grabbing a bottle of water in the airport or on the street. As long as the bottled water industry still exists, better that it uses green bottles instead of purely petroleum-based ones.
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