Global growth seen in compostable bioplastic bottles

European food and drink consultancy Zenith Intl. Ltd. (www.zenithinternational.com) reports that the global market for drinks packaged in compostable bottles rose 150% to reach 10 million liters of volume sold in 2006.

Despite that growth, a press release on Zenith’s 2007 Drinks Biopackaging report says “the low take-up shows the global beverage industry has yet to embrace bioplastics—those plastics that break down so no residue remains in the environment.”

Gary Roethenbaugh, Zenith’s research director, notes that “bioplastics, such as PLA, have been readily incorporated into compost bags, catering products, supermarket shopping bags and increasingly, food packaging. For beverage manufacturers, however, while the environmental virtues of compostable plastic bottles resonate well with consumers, a number of challenges remain.”

Roethenbaugh explains, “Drinks that connect with nature, health, and well-being are today’s early adopters of biopackaging, such as smoothie operator Innocent, and a range of bottled water producers like Belu in Europe and others in the United States,” (see story, page 52). He continues, “But recycled PET is also building momentum as a more sustainable alternative to regular PET. The beverage industry is at risk of falling behind other food applications for biopackaging unless there is more government support.”

The 60-page Zenith report is available for $1,005. It includes tables, brand profiles, and a full market commentary. Contact Zenith at 011/44.(0)1225327901, or e-mail them at info@zenithinternational.com.

—Jim Butschli

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