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Coca-Cola taps PET to launch water

After months of speculation, water in plastic bottles from Atlanta, GA-based The Coca-Cola Co. is the real thing in the U.S. The pale blue-tinted polyethylene terephthalate bottles provide a distinctive appearance for Dasani, which the company expects to launch nationwide this spring.

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(The company has marketed its BonAqua-brand bottled water in 35 countries, in refillable PET or bottles made of homopolymer polyethylene naphthalate.) Dasani will be sold in 20-oz bottles, in singles and six-packs. Larger 1- and 1.5-L sizes will also be sold. Information concerning the molding method, molder and bottle weights was not available at press time. Once again, environmental groups are likely to assail the beverage giant's use of virgin resin for another bottle, especially resin that's tinted. When asked, global communications representative Carol Martel said, "We conducted tests with independent laboratories and they found [our bottle] can go with the clear PET waste stream. You have to see the bottle to see how light the color is. It's not cobalt or royal blue," she says. "A number of recyclers have seen the bottles and are doing their own testing on it," as well. Not surprisingly, economic reasons helped persuade Coca-Cola to use virgin PET resin rather than recycled-content material for the Dasani bottles. "That decision is based on many factors, including economics and availability," she says, noting that virgin PET "is inexpensive compared to recycled-content PET." Martel adds, "In order to make food-grade [recycled] PET, there's a great deal more effort [necessary] in processing and quality to meet regulatory standards, and that adds costs." The purified, non-carbonated tap water with added minerals will reportedly be sold in convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets and vending machines. The company did not yet have suggested retail prices for the products.

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