Coke invests in new sustainability project that could change the plastics industry as a whole

Coke invests in new sustainability project that could change the plastics industry as a whole

January 29, 2012 0 By Bret Williams

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Coca-Cola has begun investing heavily into a new sustainability project that aims to discover a new material component that could help the company make new plastic bottles that are entirely renewable.

The component in question is paraxylene (PX), a hydrocarbon that has yet to be produced efficiently. PX is often referred to as the “Jesus Molecule” because it serves as a molecular anchor that can help shape the production of materials. The molecule could help the acclaimed beverage company produce wholly sustainable bottles that would significantly reduce its environmental impact.

Coca-Cola has announced that it will invest millions of dollars in companies GEVO, Virent and Avantium, all alternative energy and research and development companies, to accelerate development of affordable PX plastics. The investment aims to open up the plastics industry – which is a $100 billion business – to sustainability. If successful, Coca-Cola could be producing fully renewable packaging by 2050.

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Clean Energy Quotes To Remember - “For example, a breakthrough in better batteries could supplant hydrogen. Better solar cells could replace or win out in this race to the fuel of the future. Those, I see, as the three big competitors: hydrogen, solar cells and then better batteries.”

- Bob Inglis, Politician

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GEVO, Virent and Avantium will be working with plastic production companies to help them adopt PX in the future.

For now, these companies will be working on an affordable way to develop PX and hope to accomplish this goal within the next few years. It will take time to convince the plastic industry to adopt PX products, and the impact on the financial aspects of the business is still uncertain. Coca-Cola remains hopeful that the project will be fruitful, especially in terms of finance.