As the principal of a design firm with package design as a core competency, these are exciting times. We are seeing greater sustainable packaging innovations and they're coming at a faster clip these days. I recently blogged about SunChips new biodegradable bag. Now, on the heels of the recent SunChips packaging development, comes another terrific announcement. This one from Coca-Cola.

It seems the world's most-recognized brand has done something of note again. In a short article published in Greener Package newsletter, comes this announcement: "Coca-Cola Unveils Plant-Based Bottle."
The gist: Coca-Cola has debuted its new PlantBottle™ made through a proprietary process that turns sugar cane and molasses into one of the components for its PET plastic bottles. The company is also researching other plant materials that might be used in future editions of the PlantBottle™. Since PET plastic bottles are made from petroleum, and Coke's new packaging is made from a combination of traditional petroleum-based PET and up to 30% plant-based materials, this represents a real breakthrough.
To wit:
Manufacturing the new bottle is more environmentally efficient. Carbon emissions are reduced by up to 25%, as confirmed by third party analysis conducted by the Imperial College of London.
The PlantBottle™ can be manufactured and recycled without contaminating the customary PET.
The material in the PlantBottle™ can be used, recycled and reused over and over.
The new packaging material cuts down on petroleum, a non-renewable resource, substantially.
Coca-Cola spokesman Muhtar Kent: "It builds on our legacy of environmental ingenuity and sets the course for us to realize our vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100 percent recyclable and renewable." Scott Vitters, director of Sustainable Packaging for Coca-Cola: "This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable."
Coke plans on introducing the PlantBottle™ packaging later this year for its Dasani and sparkling brands; and its VitaminWater in 2010. New messaging will accompany the roll-out of the new bottles on the packaging itself, on point of sale retail displays and company web sites.
Would you as a consumer be more likely to purchase a Coca-Cola beverage brand packaged in the PlantBottle™ just because it's more sustainable? Even if it means ceasing to buy another brand you currently prefer?
When buying foods, beverages and other consumer products, does greener packaging factor into your purchase decision?
If you don't currently, would you purchase products in more sustainable packaging if manufacturers communicated about it better? Where would you prefer to learn about green options–on the packaging itself? On company branded web sites? In store? All of the above?
I'd love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni