Coca-Cola GB to stop using non-recycled plastic in on-the-go bottles

Coca-Cola Great Britain (GB), in partnership with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), has today announced that it is set to reach a significant milestone for its packaging in Great Britain.

The soft drinks giant announced that it will be using 100% recycled plastic in all on-the-go bottles across its entire range, as it continues its progress towards fully sustainable packaging.

The move means that all plastic bottles of 500ml or less in GB are to be made with 100% recycled plastic and will continue to be fully recyclable. The rollout commences in September, when the first 100% recycled 500ml bottles will start appearing on shelves.  This milestone means Coca-Cola Great Britain will increase the amount of recycled plastic material in smaller bottles from 50% to 100%.

This milestone means Coca-Cola will have increased the amount of recycled plastic material in smaller bottles from 50% to 100%.  Coca-Cola’s use of recycled plastics in Great Britain now saves 29,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year – the equivalent of 2,292 double decker buses.

This change is another step on Coca-Cola’s journey towards 100% recycled or renewable plastic in all its bottles, and the creation of a circular economy for its PET packaging. The company is also completing the transition from plastic shrink wrap to cardboard packaging across all multipacks. This important action will mean that more than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic.

Although all of Coca-Cola’s bottles have been 100% recyclable for many years, too many are still not being recycled. To make it easier to recycle plastic bottles Coca-Cola has been working closely with the Scottish and Westminster governments and industry partners on a ‘well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)’. This will encourage more people to recycle and ensure a greater collection of bottles in a clean, efficient way so that they can be remade into new bottles again and again.

An effective DRS is planned for implementation in Scotland by July next year with England and Wales following thereafter.

Stephen Moorhouse, general manager at CCEP GB, said: “Increasing the amount of recycled plastic we use is a critical point in our sustainable packaging journey and reaching 100%rPET puts us one step closer to achieving our ambition of a world without waste – collecting and recycling a bottle or can for every one that we sell by 2025.”

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “I am delighted to see Coca-Cola Great Britain taking this significant step to ensure its on-the-go bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic.

“We are committed to crack down on plastic pollution through our landmark reforms such as a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and making manufacturers more responsible for their packaging. Bold measures of this nature from industry will play a huge role in helping us to achieve this ambition.”

Helen Bird, strategic technical manager, WRAP, said: “It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic, and with plastic waste significantly contributing to fossil emissions when incinerated it’s never been more important to specify recycled content and keep packaging in a circular system. It’s positive to see Coke, founding members of The UK Plastics Pact, continuing to push the boundaries on design and engaging with its customers to place the bottles in the recycling, since achieving 100% recycled content is going to be strongly reliant on getting those bottles back.”

More broadly, Coca-Cola continues to use the power of its brands and advertising in order to encourage people to recycle more – from launching major advertising campaigns, to including recycling messages on its packaging, in all marketing campaigns and experiential events.

Earlier this month the company launched a new marketing campaign for its GLACÉAU Smartwater brand, encouraging more people to recycle the bottles. Bold messaging on-pack reminds consumers that the bottles are 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled PET plastic (rPET).


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Survey suggests consumer support for compostable packaging

The majority of the British public want to get rid of plastic packaging on their food and have compostable packaging instead, according to a new poll commissioned by TIPA.

The survey also found that most (83%) are supportive of a tax on plastic packaging to curb plastic waste. It found strong public support for compostable packaging as a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic packaging.

Of those asked, 83% would prefer their food to be wrapped in compostable rather than traditional plastic packaging for environmental reasons.

More than eight-in-ten (83%) agree that a tax aimed at reducing the amount of plastic packaging used by food and drink manufacturers is a good idea in principle, while 80% believe the tax should treat compostable materials differently to traditional plastic.

The Yonder survey of 2,085 UK adults, commissioned by TIPA – a leading producer of compostable materials – comes amid the Government’s plans to roll out a Plastic Packaging Tax, set to launch in April 2022. The poll shows strong support for the tax in principle – yet many campaigners and members of the public have expressed concerns that the proposed tax does not make allowances for compostable packaging solutions.

Currently the tax incorporates compostable packaging as if it were traditional polluting plastic. This differs from many other countries, such as Italy, Ireland and Japan, which have enacted policies promoting compostable materials.

Some argue that including compostable packaging in the same tax category as traditional plastic undermines the purpose of compostable materials.

Daphna Nissenbaum, chief executive and co-founder of TIPA said: “The plastic packaging tax is an opportunity for the UK to establish itself as a global leader in the fight against plastic waste. Yet it is failing to allow for innovative packaging solutions like compostable packaging which are essential if we are to curb plastic pollution.

“Compostable packaging offers a sustainable solution to things like food contact plastic films, which for many reasons cannot be recycled. Instead, they are removed at recycling facilities and either sent to landfill or incinerated. This poll shows clear public support for compostable packaging. It is vital that the Government listens to this and recognises the need for a separate tax system for compostable packaging”.

The poll follows mounting pressure from politicians on the government to develop stronger infrastructure and policy support around compostable packaging. Last week Baroness Bakewell addressed the House of Lords, calling on the government to recognise the role of compostable materials in reducing plastic pollution. Peers are now set to consider amending the plastic tax to exclude compostable materials.

Baroness Bakewell said: “Plastic films are extremely hard to recycle, and even if they are recycled are seldom if ever recycled into new films.  The idea of a ‘circular economy’ on such packaging is just an illusion.

“By contrast, compostable films can be an appropriate substitute, and more sustainable than conventional films from recycled sources.  The unintended consequence of the plastics tax as it stands is that these innovative solutions are perversely penalised.  My amendment to the Environment Bill would ensure that independently certified compostable films are treated as separate and distinct from conventional plastics.”

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet said: “There is not one silver bullet solution to our plastic crisis; instead there will be a myriad of alternatives as we switch to better, more sustainable materials and systems. Consumers have rightly recognised that there is a place for compostable materials in our future.

“When compostables are used as a conduit to take food waste into the food waste and composting system, this is a double whammy win for the environment. They help us create more compost for our hungry soils and they help reduce plastic pollution of our soil. What doesn’t make sense is for Ministers to persist with policies that fail to recognise the beneficial uses of compostables and treat them in exactly the same way as conventional plastics that do nothing but harm to our soils and our Ocean.”


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Unilever creates world-first paper detergent bottle

Unilever has used new Pulpex technology to develop the first-ever paper-based laundry detergent bottle, which is made of sustainably sourced pulp and designed to be recycled in standard paper waste streams.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of products on the planet and are making purchasing choices based on sustainability factors, including packaging and its sustainability.

With this in mind, Unilever says it is placing high importance on delivering functionally superior products that address environmental issues that people care about.

A prototype paper-based bottle is currently being developed for Unilever’s OMO brand (which is called persil, Skip or breeze, depending on which market it’s sold in), and is set to debut in Brazil by early 2022. The new technology has been developed in partnership with the Pulpex consortium, which is a collaboration between Unilever, Diageo, Pilot Lite, PepsiCo and GSK Consumer Healthcare.

Unilever says the ability to package liquid products in paper-based bottles will be a huge achievement, but before such a bottle hits the shelves, it will be tested against its performance in real-life situations, such as transportation or storage in damp environments.

The paper-based bottles are sprayed inside with a proprietary coating that repels water, enabling the material to hold liquid products like laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioners, which contain surfactants, fragrances and other active ingredients.

While creating recyclable, paper-based packaging without additional plastic layers is a massive challenge, Unilever claims the Pulpex solution offers a “promising way to radically reduce plastic use in line with commitments to a waste-free world”.

“To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products,” says Richard Slater, Unilever’s chief R&D officer.

“This requires a drastic change that can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. Pulpex paper bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products.

“Innovating with alternative materials is a key part of our sustainable packaging strategy and will play an important role in our commitment to halve our use of virgin plastic materials by 2025.”

The company is also piloting the same technology to create paper-based hair care bottles.

The recent development forms part of Unilever’s 2020 commitment to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in its cleaning and laundry products by 2030. Unilever has also committed to halving virgin plastic use by 2025 and aiming for net zero carbon emissions from all its products by 2039.


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From plastic waste to vanilla flavouring

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh have devised a novel way of tackling the issue of plastic pollution by using bacteria to transform plastic waste into vanilla flavouring.

The researchers have discovered that the common bacteria E. coli can be deployed to convert post-consumer plastic into vanillin, which is the is the primary component of extracted vanilla beans and is responsible for the characteristic taste and smell of vanilla.

The world’s plastic crisis has seen an urgent need to develop new methods to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is widely used for packaging. It is estimated that around 50  million tonnes of PET waste is produced annually, and while PET is recyclable, recycled products can also contribute to plastic pollution. 

To tackle this problem, scientists from the University of Edinburgh used lab engineered E. coli to transform terephthalic acid – a molecule derived from PET – into the high value compound vanillin, via a series of chemical reactions. The team also demonstrated how the technique works by converting a used plastic bottle into vanillin by adding the E. coli to the degraded plastic waste. Vanillin is widely used in the food and cosmetics industries, as well as the formulation of herbicides, antifoaming agents and cleaning products. Global demand for vanillin was in excess of 37,000 tonnes in 2018. 

Researchers say that the vanillin produced would be fit for human consumption but further experimental tests are required.

This is the first example of using a biological system to upcycle plastic waste into a valuable industrial chemical. “The results from our research have major implications for the field of plastic sustainability and demonstrate the power of synthetic biology to address real-world challenges,” says Joanna Sadler, First author and BBSRC Discovery Fellow , School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh.

“Our work challenges the perception of plastic being a problematic waste and instead demonstrates its use as a new carbon resource from which high value products can be obtained,” adds Dr Stephen Wallace, Principle Investigator and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh. 

“Using microbes to turn waste plastics, which are harmful to the environment, into an important commodity and platform molecule with broad applications in cosmetics and food is a beautiful demonstration of green chemistry, comments Dr Ellis Crawford. Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry. 

The study, published in Green Chemistry lays the foundation for further studies to maximize vanillin production towards industrially relevant levels.


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Lecta launches polyethylene free EraCup Natural

Lecta has presented EraCup Natural, a paper-based solution for single-use cups that the company says is recyclable, biodegradeble and polyethylene-free. 

EraCup Natural is the first product in Lecta’s new range of functional papers for “nature-friendly packaging”. The new EraCup Natural solution is based on a proprietary process that is both polyethylene and bioplastic free. Its composition allows the paper to be recycled in standard paper recycling circuits after having been converted and used.

EraCup Natural is a SBB paperboard manufactured with pulp from certified sources, available in substances from 170 g/m2 up to 380 g/m2. It has an uncoated outer face, with a smooth, natural finish suitable for high-quality flexography and offset printing. The inside is covered with a sealable aqueous dispersion that guarantees the manufacture of liquid-tight paper cups. In addition, this paper-based solution allows for energy savings since cups made with EraCup Natural require lower sealing temperatures compared to those manufactured with current polyethylene materials. 

The company says that the cup’s properties make it ideal for hot and cold beverage cups as well as on-the-go disposable containers.


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Unilever and Tubex partner on sample tube made from 100% aluminium

Unilever’s REN Clean Skincare brand and its packaging partner Tubex have created an innovative recyclable sample pack made entirely from 100% recycled aluminium – including the nozzle.

The sample pack is being described as a world-first in the luxury beauty industry. Every part is made from 100% recycled aluminium, even the nozzle, which avoids the use of tamper seals or mini plastic caps.

Beyond sustainability benefits, the companies say that aluminium is very effective in protecting the product in the pack from light degradation and any potential oxidation.

Its malleability also makes it easy to squeeze out almost every drop of product from the pack, minimising leftover waste and maximising access to the small amount inside.

In the context of Unilever’s wider sustainability pledges, REN has made a ‘Zero Waste pledge’ in the hopes of ensuring that all of its packaging can be recycled, have recycled materials or be reused by the end of 2021.

Earlier this year, it also formed a global alliance called #WeAreAllies with Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE. This saw each member pledge to introduce “planet-friendly” packaging by the end of 2025.

“There is no silver bullet with recycling, so we have implemented various solutions to meet our Zero Waste pledge,” REN’s CEO, Arnaud Meysselle, says. “While more costly, we are committed to using these new tubes to reduce plastic waste and hope to encourage other beauty brands to rethink their sample packaging with the planet in mind.”


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The LEGO approach to packaging sustainability

In 2020, Danish toy giant LEGO announced its best sales figures for the past five years, largely due to an uptick in consumer interest during national lockdowns. The company has also been busy in the packaging sphere – revealing changes to secondary packaging, as well as its very first brick made from recycled PET.

To learn more about these projects, as well as LEGO’s general approach to packaging sustainability, we spoke with Tim Brooks, the company’s VP of environmental responsibility.

Recently, LEGO revealed its first-ever bricks made from recycled PET. Could you give us some background on this project, and tell us more about the “patent-pending material formulation” that makes it possible?

The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded drinks bottles, is the first brick made from recycled material to meet our company’s extremely strict quality and safety requirements.

This formulation of recycled PET is the most promising of over 250 different recycled PET variations that our team of 150 people has researched and tested as part of our journey to find more sustainable materials for our products.

We have also tested over 100 formulations of other sustainable materials over the past six years and found rPET to be the most suitable so far.

To get to this point, we developed a patent-pending material process to strengthen the rPET material to make it durable enough for LEGO products. We estimate that one standard 1 litre PET bottle (approx. one liquid US quart) provides enough recycled PET to make 10 2 x 4 LEGO bricks.

Our long-term ambition is to make our products from more sustainable materials, so we are excited to have a prototype that may provide an alternative material without compromising on safety or quality.

On a broader scale, LEGO aims to make all its packs recyclable or renewable by 2025. How do you plan to make this a reality – is there a roadmap?

Our ambition to make all of our packaging from sustainable materials by 2025 is another focus for our sustainable materials team.

In 2019 we started to phase out single-use plastic retail bags from our stores, and this year, started to trial paper pre-pack bags in our LEGO boxes rather than single-use plastic bags. The paper bags will be adjusted and refined during this pilot before being rolled out across the portfolio by 2025.Expand


Like you said, in terms of secondary packaging, LEGO plans to swap its plastic inner bags for paper-based ones. In the company’s view, what are the benefits of paper vs plastic in this context?

Our priority when it comes to packaging is to make it more sustainable which means from recycled or renewable sources and removing single-use plastic.

The paper we are trialling can be widely recycled by builders once they have enjoyed the building experience.

The switch from single-use plastic to paper will have a minimal impact on our total CO2 emissions, which we are already successfully working to reduce across our operations and supply chain.

LEGO recognizes that this particular effort will not be simple to deliver. Could you break down some of the challenges you expect to encounter, and how you plan to overcome them?

Phasing in the new bags is a complicated process – we need to introduce new machines to make the new packs and we make millions of boxes a day across five factories around the world.

We can’t switch everything at once, which is why we have a phased way, to ensure we can continue to get LEGO play to children around the world.

We will have completed the transition in order to meet our ambition of using 100% sustainable packaging by 2025.

Bio-based plastics are gaining traction in the packaging industry, and I’ve seen that this is also an area in which LEGO is invested. What has LEGO learned thus far from its forays into this field?

When we first launched bio-elements in 2018, we used bio-polyethylene in about a dozen of our botanical elements. Over the past few years, we’ve expanded our use, and currently have just over 100 different elements made from bio-polyethylene.

However, bio- polyethylene is a soft plastic so is not currently suitable for making harder, stronger elements such as the iconic LEGO bricks which are currently made from an ABS plastic. This is why we are continuing to explore other sustainable materials for use in our bricks.  Expand


For us, the challenge with finding more sustainable alternatives to the 20 or so materials we use for our products, is to develop materials that can be moulded to the accuracy of a hair width to ensure bricks produced today fit with those made over 60 years ago, while being durable and safe enough to be handled by children day-in, day-out. That’s why we are so excited about the breakthrough we have made with the recycled PET material.

LEGO hopes to be carbon neutral by 2022 – how is it going about making this happen?

By 2022 we want to be carbon neutral across our manufacturing operations. This will involve investing in efficiency measures to lower energy use and carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy across our sites.

Through our parent company KIRKBI, we have invested in two offshore wind farms in Germany and the UK. We already have solar panels on our new LEGO CAMPUS in Billund and are installing them across our factory network.

We are also committing to reducing our absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 against a 2019 baseline. This target has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative as consistent with levels required to keep global warming to below 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

Implementing all of these projects across the entire business will clearly be quite the undertaking. What factors motivate these moves?

We want to play our part in building a sustainable future and making a positive impact on the planet our children will inherit. As a company that looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change and protecting the environment.

Over the last ten years, we have made a series of moves to build a better planet for future generations, but we believe it’s increasingly urgent and important to prioritise environmental and social activity. That’s why last year, we announced a $400m US investment to accelerate our sustainability and social responsibility initiatives, which includes research into more sustainable materials for our products and packaging.


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Packaging Trend Focus: A look at the 2021 refill landscape

In the second of a series of articles looking at ThePackHub’s Global Packaging Trends Compendium, Paul Jenkins, Managing Director, ThePackHub, takes a look at the subject of refills. 

The Global Packaging Trends Compendium 2021 details more than 550 packaging innovations and is grouped into nine trends. ‘Refill Revolution’ is one of the trend areas that is exhibiting strong growth. Despite potential disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, reusable and refillable packaging examples have increased in occurrence, notably over the last 18 months as brands, retailers and suppliers look at ways of reducing single-use and difficult to recycle packaging. Sectors such as dry food, household products and personal care are leading the way by making the most initial ground to transition to refillable and reusable packaging models.

The majority of the in-store examples coming to market are at the small trial and pilot stage, with refillable packaging systems set up in a handful of test stores. Major retail chains are testing the water with a small number of initiatives in outlets. However, cosmetics, skincare and perfume retailer The Body Shop is bucking this trend and scaling up their trial operations.

Refillable scheme starts global roll out

Following successful trials in two of its concept stores, The Body Shop is rolling out its refill and recycle scheme across the globe. The initial trial, started in 2019, was launched in Bond Street, London, and Vancouver’s Pacific Centre store. The extended launch will start in France, across 47 stores, and will extend to 400 stores worldwide by the end of 2021. The Body Shop plans to have refill stations in all of its stores by 2026. The scheme works by shoppers being given a 250ml aluminium bottle, then choosing from a selection of products, including shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Once the product has been used, the customer cleans the bottle themselves and returns it to the store for a refill. The number of refill stations will vary depending on the size of the store but is expected to be between six and 12 per outlet.

Gable-top carton refill pack for soap launched 

Norwegian home and personal care manufacturer Orkla has collaborated with Elopak to produce a sustainable refill pack for its Klar laundry detergent and liquid soap products. The new board-based carton, called D-PAK, is a move by Orkla to help consumers reduce the amount of plastic generated in the waste stream. The gable-top carton is made from renewable materials and is said to be suitable for recycling with other board products such as milk cartons and newspapers. A trial has been conducted with selected retailers and online purchasers. Consumer feedback has been positive, with reports that refilling is easy and convenient. Consumers need to pour from the carton into the original plastic container. It is said that the new pack is more efficient through the supply chain, as it saves weight and is also more cost-effective by volume. A label over the cap is added to alert the consumer that the pack’s contents are not for consumption. 

Return and refill scheme aims to reduce carbon footprint

Upcircle, a ‘by-product’ sustainable skincare brand based in London, is launching a new return and refill scheme to help reduce its carbon footprint. The company repurposes waste materials, such as coffee grounds from London coffee shops along with other waste products such as fruit stones, argan, olives, juice and tea. Ninety-nine per cent of the company’s current packaging is already plastic-free, being made from easily recycled board, glass and aluminium and now the remaining 1% can now also be recycled. Customers will be able to return their cleaned, empty packaging free of charge, which will then be sterilized, refilled and returned to customers. As part of the scheme, the shopper will receive a 20% discount on the original price. Upcircle also has an in-store set up where customers can bring in their packs to be refilled from bulk containers. 

Reusable cup trial starts coffee chain trial

Coffee shop heavyweights Starbucks are trialling a new reusable cup programme called ‘Borrow a Cup’ in five Seattle stores for two months. The aim is to reduce single-use cup waste. The customer requests a reusable cup and pays a $1 deposit. When the drink is finished, it can then be scanned at a participating store’s collection point, and once the cup’s return has been confirmed the $1 is refunded along with 10 bonus points that are added to the customer’s account. The cups are then taken away and commercially cleaned and sanitized. The cups are ready for reuse within 48 hours. The expected number of reuses for each cup is 30 times before they are recycled. The initiative is part of Starbucks’ aim to reduce waste by 50% by 2030.

The Refill Revolution trend is anticipated to maintain its growth trajectory. Brands and retailers will continue to develop refillable and reusable solutions to meet their sustainability objectives as the sector becomes more normalized.

The 2021 Global Packaging Trends Compendium comprises nine new packaging trends. It features a comprehensive assessment of more than 550 packaging innovations. It also includes the interviews of 16 industry experts from around the world, featuring packaging experts from the likes of Mars Wrigley, Mondelez, Ocado, as well as Tim Sykes, Brand Director at Packaging Europe.

More information here:


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Unpacking the potential of Xampla’s 100% plant protein film

Earlier this month, we reported on a new film developed by the University of Cambridge and Xampla that is made from 100% plant protein and requires no additives. We caught up with Dr Marc Rodriguez Garcia, Xampla’s Head of Research, to find out if the solution really has the potential to replace conventional plastics.

To start us off, please could you introduce this new solution to us?        

Our technology is the culmination of 15 years’ research at Cambridge University where we were looking to understand how nature generates high-performance materials from proteins. The result is a plant-based protein material that has a mechanical strength comparable to some conventional fossil-fuel-derived plastics, but is entirely natural and requires no chemical modification. 

With this technology, we’re in a unique position to say we’ve created a plastic-like high-performance material that doesn’t pollute – at the beginning or end of life.

We can source the plant protein as a by-product of the agriculture and food industries, and the resulting material can be metabolised by various microorganisms in any natural environment just like any other naturally occurring polymer, such as cellulose. This material can also be developed into edible products, given that no chemical modification is required.

What motivated the research team to develop this product, and what opportunities did you identify in planning?

In the beginning, the motivation was purely an interest in understanding the fundamental properties that allow proteins to be structured into high-performance materials in nature. We were inspired by spiders’ silk, which is weight-for-weight stronger than steel, and one of the strongest materials in nature.

When we discovered we could assemble plant proteins into a molecular structure very similar to spider silk, the potential to have a global impact on the plastic crisis became our focus. 

The technology leverages plant proteins in the form of a spider’s silk-like structure. Can you explain how this works in practice and give us some insights into the R&D process?

The strength found in spiders’ silk is a result of the regularly spaced non-covalent hydrogen bonds between the protein molecules at a very high density. Proteins have a propensity to self-assemble and the spider simply leverages protein and energy to create its high-performance material, silk. The team discovered how to make the polypeptide chains that make up plant proteins self-assemble in this way.

The outcome is a naturally derived polymer material created by taking a plant protein, such as pea isolate, and adding concentrated vinegar, heat and energy. This combination creates a material that is strong, flexible, and transparent; much like conventional plastic. 

In terms of functionality, what applications is the product suited to, and how does it perform when compared with conventional plastics?

Our mission is to replace everyday single-use plastics and intentionally added microplastics, and we’re constantly developing new applications for our material like flexible packaging films, sachets, and microcapsules. 

We can formulate materials to meet the requirements of different applications.  Our initial focus is on replacing fossil-fuel-derived polymers such as Polyvinyl alcohol where we broadly compare to their current performance, but with a completely naturally occurring material that will simply be metabolised by microorganisms in any natural environment.   

I’d like to talk a bit about end of life – how long does the material take to decompose and what is left behind? How would you recommend it be disposed of?

Our material decomposes in the environment naturally and fully and is a source of protein for living things. We’ve designed it to be home composted. In a lot of other bio-based plastic alternatives, chemical crosslinking is used to give a material the functionality of plastic, and this can compromise end-of-life sustainability by slowing degradation. Our material doesn’t require any chemical crosslinking, so there’s no trace of it after it’s disposed of. 

 What does the future hold for the film – how are you looking to make the product truly scalable?

Xampla is the commercial spin-out from Cambridge University responsible for developing new product applications and scaling the technology. We have a number of leading tech investors helping us drive this forward, alongside a rapidly growing team with the technical and commercial expertise needed to scale at a global level. 

We’re developing our material as a drop-in solution.  We need to work with current supply chain players to reach scale, and offer them a material that performs as closely as possible to their current materials.  So, our resins can be manufactured into films in standard solvent-casting processes. And our films can be made into sachets and other applications by converters with standard processes.

Major brands are being forced by impending regulation and consumer demand to hardwire sustainability into their business models, and there is an ongoing and increasingly urgent global shift away from fossil fuels. We see our material as the go-to single-use plastic substitute for the post-oil world, and we’re putting everything in place now to ensure our solution is there for the pioneering brands ready to make the shift.



Aptar partners with REBO for launch of smart, reusable water bottle

Aptar Food + Beverage has announced a partnership with REBO on a reusable water bottle that uses smart technology to help customers stay hydrated, all while funding the collection of tossed-away plastic bottles in developing countries.

The REBO water bottle uses Bluetooth technology embedded in its cap to track the amount of water consumed. A personalized hydration app (iOS and Android) syncs with the REBO bottle’s smart cap to track health goals. The bottle lights up and sends consumers reminders to stay hydrated.

Meanwhile, every time the user refills the REBO bottle, a credit is produced which funds the collection of a tossed-away plastic bottle. This is part of the business model that REBO has created to enable the funding of ocean-bound plastic waste collections in developing regions

On a macro level, Aptar has committed to increasing the amount of recycled material in its products and improving the recyclability, reusability, or composability of their products by 2025, as aligned with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Commitment.

“Aptar is committed to contributing to a more circular economy that will help our customers and partners achieve their sustainability targets, while creating a positive impact on our people and the planet,” says Jerome Magniet, president of global market development at Aptar.

“The partnership with REBO allows us to advance our market knowledge for emerging trends and leverage our manufacturing, regulatory, and innovation expertise.”

“Progressing on the battle against plastic waste in our oceans is in our hands,” adds PierAndrea Quarta, founder and CEO of REBO. “REBO puts technology in your hands to make an immediate impact on the environment while you drink.”

Earlier this year, REBO joined Adidas and Parley in the fight against plastic waste with the creation of a limited-edition bottle for Run for the Oceans 2021, a movement that sought to unite over 50 million people against plastic waste.