Natural packaging for natural juice. Makes sense, doesn’t it? California-based Odwalla recently announced the repackaging of its single-serve juice drinks in PlantBottle™ high-density, 96% plant-based polyethylene.

PlantBottle technology is still fairly new, and Coca-Cola took the early lead in using it for its soft drinks. Expect more companies to follow suit as suppliers seek sounder packaging alternatives to petroleum-based plastics made from plant-based polymers, including CPG giant Procter & Gamble.

Not only is the new packaging 100% recyclable, it also reduces the company’s use of nonrenewable resources, cuts CO2 emissions substantially, and is expected to save approximately 400,000 gallons of gas. All of this according to a recent Greener Package newsletter article.

Odwalla president Alison Lewis says, “Plants do such a good job of making our juice, Odwalla hired them to help make our bottles. Doing good things for the community and building a business with heart are core guiding principles of Odwalla’s vision.”

The beauty of PlantBottle packaging:
• The plastic-like material comes from molasses and sugarcane juice.
• It looks like and performs as well as traditional HDPE and PET bottles.
• It can be endlessly recycled.

Naturally derived, sustainable packaging makes sense for natural and organic brands. For brands like Odwalla, packaging their juices in the PlantBottle is consistent with the company’s core values. But what about Coca Cola or Procter & Gamble? Is it as important to their brand values?

There’s no disputing that cutting down on nonrenewable resources, cutting harmful emissions, and coming up with totally recyclable polymers is desirable from an environmental and PR point of view. But do the consumers of these big brands care as much as an Odwalla customer about packaging? How much does it matter when these customers are making purchases?

What do you think?

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

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni