The Odwalla unit of Coca-Cola will transition to 100% PlantBottle packaging for all of its single-serve beverages in March 2011. The high-density polyethylene bottles comprise up to 100% plant-based material (the company specifies a minimum of 96% plant-based content) that is also 100% recyclable.

Based in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Odwalla states that the new package will help to reduce dependence on nonrenewable resources. For example, the potential annual carbon dioxide emission reduction from the use of plant-based material, instead of petroleum, to make Odwalla’s PlantBottle packaging is equal to a savings of almost 400,000 gallons of gasoline.

“Doing good things for the community and building a business with heart are core guiding principles of Odwalla’s vision,” says Alison Lewis, Odwalla president. “PlantBottle packaging is just the latest step in our continued commitment to the environment.”

The Coca Cola Co., which acquired Odwalla in 2001, announced in May 2009 and launched in December in Denmark the PlantBottle for PET packaging (See The Greening of Bottled Water, published December 16, 2009). PlantBottle is a “hybrid” consisting of up to 30% polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material derived from plants and the remainder from petro-based material. In 2010, the PlantBottle packaging was expanded into a variety of pack sizes for the company’s sparkling and still beverages in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Norway.

PlantBottle packaging consists of material derived from molasses and sugarcane juice. It has the same performance as traditional HDPE and PET bottles, including weight, barrier, composition and appearance.