PepsiCo Inc. unveiled a new bottle Tuesday made entirely of plant material that it says bests the technology of competitor Coca-Cola and reduces bottles’ carbon footprint.
The bottle is made from switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and other materials. Ultimately, Pepsi plans to also use orange peels, oat hulls, potato scraps and other leftovers from its food business.
The new bottle looks, feels and protects the drink inside exactly the same as its current bottles, said Rocco Papalia, senior vice president of advanced research at PepsiCo.
“It’s a beautiful thing to behold,” he said. “It’s indistinguishable.”
PepsiCo says it is the world’s first bottle of a common type of plastic called PET made entirely of plant materials. Coca-Cola Co. currently produces a bottle using 30 percent plant-based materials and recently estimated it would be several years before it has a 100 percent plant bottle that’s commercially viable.
“We’ve cracked the code,” Papalia said.
PepsiCo announced the discovery Tuesday and said it plans to test the product in 2012 in a few hundred thousand bottles. Once the company is sure it can successfully produce the bottle at that scale, it will begin converting all its products over.