- Danone's Evian bottled water brand is unveiling a new recycled plastic (rPET) prototype bottle using technology from Loop Industries. The process allows all types of PET plastic waste, including material taken from things like gym bags or flip flops that would otherwise be thrown out, to be turned into plastic bottles.
- Evian bottles using Loop’s technology will be rolled out at commercial scale in South Korea in 2022, with the goal of launching in other markets later in the future. Danone touted the new prototype bottle as a step toward its efforts to make all its Evian plastic bottles from 100% recycled PET by 2025. The package has been renamed Evian Loop to highlight each bottle's ability to be recycled.
- The bottle marks the latest effort by a large CPG, especially those that rely on plastic, to improve their packaging as more consumers choose what products they buy depending on a company's sustainability efforts.
While 396 million tons of plastics are produced annually worldwide, recycled PET accounts for only about 12% to 14% of plastic packaging. A plastic bottle that heads to a landfill takes about 450 years to decompose, according to some estimates.
Images of plastic bottles floating in the ocean or piled up in landfills have stoked consumer concern over the material used to make their favorite products. The pandemic has only served to underscore the importance of sustainable packaging as consumers show more interest in their environmental footprint and that of the overall food system.
Danone, which manufactures yogurt brands like Oikos and plant-based offerings like Silk, has spent the last few years testing out new bottles created entirely with recycled plastic for its Evian brand. Currently, between 25% and 50% of each Evian bottle is made from recycled plastic.
The latest product, developed with Loop, expands on that effort of trying out the packaging on a smaller scale first before rolling it out more broadly. Danone said the Evian Loop bottle will allow it to reuse more material that would otherwise be discarded.
Shweta Harit, vice president of marketing for Evian, called the launch a "game changer and an important milestone in our ambitious sustainability journey," in a statement. Partnering with Loop, Harit said, will help the company "accelerate our drive to keep the use of virgin plastic to an absolute minimum, whilst also preserving the uniqueness and purity of our natural spring water.”
Danone is one of many large CPGs that are focusing a big part of their sustainability efforts in plastic.
PepsiCo last week said it will reduce the use of virgin plastic per serving by 50% across its global food and beverage portfolio by 2030, and incorporate half recycled content in its plastic packaging. Coca-Cola introduced in February new bottles made from 100% recycled plastic material. And last year Nestlé invested $30 million into the private equity fund of investment firm Closed Loop Partners, whose goal is upgrading U.S. recycling infrastructure and gaining access to food-grade recycled plastics.
In addition to using 100% recycled plastic, Evian appears to go one step further by breaking down plastic used in bottles and non-food grade items into base materials that can be reused to make new packaging.
For Loop, the rollout with Danone is a much-need validation of its technology that has come under fire by a short seller — an investor who bets a company's stock will decline. In a report released last year, Hindenburg Research claimed Loop was "smoke and mirrors with no viable technology."
Daniel Solomita, Loop's founder and CEO, said the Evian bottle is "an important milestone in the commercialization of our technology." He said it was the first commercial production of a consumer beverage bottle made entirely from Loop's branded resin using 100% recycled content.