Coca-Cola's Simply Orange more sustainable, still structurally sound

New 89-oz juice bottle with integral handle switches from PETG to new PET formulation, goes from resin code PETE 7 to code PETE 1.

The integral handle bottle went from resin code PETE 7 to code PETE 1.
The integral handle bottle went from resin code PETE 7 to code PETE 1.

The Coca-Cola Co. finished a three-year project with plastic producer Indorama Ventures and converter CKS Packaging to create a new recyclable bottle for its Simply brand juices. The 89-oz bottle with integral handle, named Diamond Award Finalist, uses Indorama’s Polyclear EBM PET 5507 resin. It’s molded using extrusion blow-molding equipment from Bekum. The resin’s high melt-strength and slow crystallization allow it to be processed on existing extrusion blow-molding equipment.

“In support of our World Without Waste initiative, we are working to build better packaging that is 100 percent recyclable and includes more renewable and recyclable material,” says Jordan Mattison, Senior Engineer, Packaging Innovation, Coca-Cola North America. “The commercialization of this material innovation allows for the recycling of the 89-oz Simply package with the Resin code#1 PET stream and aligns with our sustainability goals. The conversion of the 89oz Simply package to a recyclable material was only possible through close collaboration and a shared commitment to sustainability with our resin supplier Indorama Ventures, our converter CKS Packaging and our equipment OEM Bekum.”

This new PET replaces the previous PETG bottles known to melt more easily than their PET counterparts, wreaking havoc on the PET recycling process. In fact, recyclers traditionally have had to remove handled PETG bottles from the stream because of the material’s proclivity to stick to other materials and shut down the process. Because of this, PETG bottles were forced to carry the PETE 7 resin identification code.

Polyclear EBM PET is recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and was granted official Critical Guidance recognition for protecting the integrity of the PET recycling stream. The resin is a semi-crystalline polyester that, importantly, can carry the PETE 1 resin identification code.

The 89-oz Simply juice bottle is the first commercial application for the plastic, but it may have the legs to make inroads in other arenas. One such area may be handled liquid laundry detergent or other household products with formats currently dominated by opaque PP or HDPE.

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