In a bid to solve the single-use plastic bottle menace, new plans are underway to package soft drinks and beer in all-plant bottles, which will completely decompose within one year.
Avantium, a Netherlands-based renewable chemicals company, is planning to kickstart a project that will make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.
Drinks giants like Coca-Cola and Carlsberg have already backed the project and the company is expected to reveal partnerships with other food and drink companies later in the summer.
Across the globe, around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made from fossil fuels every year. A major contributor to the climate crisis, a majority of these are not recycled and can take hundreds of years to decompose.
However, Avantium says that their plant-based technology can produce new material for bottles that decomposes in a year by 2023.
"This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do," Tom van Aken, Avantium's chief executive, was quoted by The Guardian.
The plant-based material is produced by breaking down sustainable plant sugars into chemical structures that can then be rearranged to form a new plant-based plastic. This plastic is designed to be strong enough to contain carbonated drinks.
Aken added that the trials have shown that the plant plastic would decompose in one year using a composter. If left under normal outdoor conditions, it would decompose in a few years. However, it should ideally be recycled.
The company will initially make 5,000 tonnes of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets. However, depending on the demand for renewable plastic, the company expects its production to grow.