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May 22, 2020
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Biodegradable plastic bottles could soon become everyday reality

It is likely that soon beer and soft drinks can be drunk from bottles similar to plastic ones, but made from completely vegetable biodegradable material.

Biochemical company Avantium from Holland begins to search for investments in an innovative project for the production of plastic from vegetable sugars, and not from fossil fuels. Company CEO Tom van Aken hopes to attract major investors by the end of the year to create the world's leading bioplastics plant. The plant will be built next to the already built small demonstration plant. The plant will decompose sustainable vegetable sugars derived from wheat, corn and beets into simple chemical structures, which can then be rebuilt to form a new plastic material. First, the plant will produce 5000 tons of plastic per year, and then, as demand for biodegradable plastics grows, it will increase production volumes. Over time, it is planned to start producing sugar from biological waste, so as not to provoke significant changes in the food production chain.

The initiative was announced in January this year, and already managed to enlist the support of a group of beer retailers Carlsberg , who in October last year put up a draft biodegradable beer bottle made of thick paper - but the inner layer needed so that the bottle does not leak, it remains from polyethylene terephthalate (in abbreviated form - PET), of which most plastic bottles are made today (it is made from renewable raw materials, but is not biodegradable, that is, a bottle with this technology would not be completely biodegradable). Carlsberg in the biodegradable bottle project plans to change the inner lining material from PET to bioplastics from the company Avantium .

Бумажная бутылка от Carlsberg.
A paper bottle from Carlsberg .

The project was also supported Coca-Cola and Danone , who hope to “stake out” a place in themselves production of the future, in which it will be unacceptable to continue to pollute nature with non-degradable plastic or rely entirely on fossil resources.

Every year the world produces 300 million tons of plastic from fossil resources. Most of this plastic is not processed and partially settles on the ocean floor in the form of microparticles that will not decompose for hundreds of years. That is, the problem of littering nature and ocean pollution is directly related to the production of large volumes of non-recyclable plastic.

The material from Avantium is quite strong and flexible, to make carbonated containers from it. Unlike most plastics, the material from Avantium does not use non-renewable resources, unlike PET, it decomposes in compost in one year, and in nature - for two or three. In addition, the material can be recycled.

Bottles of such plastic may appear on the shelves at 2023 year. However, it is worth considering that this is not the first biodegradable plastic ever proposed, and that many innovative environmental projects in the recent past have failed due to resistance at different levels of the production chain.

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