- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is hoping a new agency rule will promote the use of plant-based plastic, rubber, and fiber in manufacturing products, such as bottles and packaging. The USDA proposes to add manufacturers of plant-based products to a loan guarantee program, which would give these manufacturers access to loans with cheaper interest rates when it comes time to build a new plant
- Coca-Cola Co. is one major company participating in the movement toward using bio-based products. Currently, all of the company's bottles are made of fully recyclable plastic using one-third plant-based materials. Earlier this year, it revealed a 100% plant-based PET bottle.
- Coca-Cola uses Brazilian sugarcane but is looking into other plant-based materials to use as well.
"The report said the industry making products from plant-based materials has displaced 300 million gallons of petroleum a year, which Vilsack said is the equivalent from an emissions standpoint of removing 200,000 cars off the road," according to Associated Press.
This is another area where food companies can focus on improving their sustainability practices. Recycling in-house and using recyclable packaging is one major step, but making the leap to plant-based materials in packaging means using an even more biodegradable product.
This also puts more money into other areas of the food industry, particularly the farmers who grow the plants used to make these plant-based materials that ultimately become bottles and packaging for other food companies.
Coca-Cola has demonstrated that plant-based materials can be utilized on a mass scale. But other food companies will have to determine whether they can adjust their packaging needs and fit plant-based materials into their budget.