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Biodegradable PET bottles

Waste, Canada

A new composition of plastic bottles is invented to radically speed up their degradation.

Made to last
PET bottles are extremely handy. They are lightweight and environmentally friendly, because they are made to last so they can be re-used and recycled. But did you know only a mere 24% of them is actually being recycled? The other 76% end up at landfills, rivers and eventually in the Pacific Ocean. Since humankind has been producing the plastic bottles, and throwing them away, a floating mass of plastic has been building up, sometimes referred to as 'the plastic soup'. The huge mass is currently almost twice the size of the United States and consists of all kinds of plastics, being held together by undercurrent streams.

Biodegradable PET bottles
Regular PET bottles have an estimated life expectancy of a thousand years. So you can imagine what will happen to the plastic soup when the yearly production - and disposal - of bottles not only continues, but grows. Since 2004 a new kind of biodegradable PET bottle is being developed. This type of bottle starts degrading when it comes in contact with heat and ultraviolet light. When it is thrown away and ends up in a landfill or river, it will get exposed to a large amount of sunlight and as a result the excelled degradation process will begin.

Suitable for re-use

But what if you leave the bottle inside a hot car? Can pieces of bottle start to degrade into your drink? No, the clever design of the biodegradable PET bottle prevents the bottle from starting to break down early. The materials contain 'free radicals' that are responsible for the start of the degradation process. By adding 'free radical scavengers' the process of degradation is belated. As a result the Eco-bottle has a preprogrammed life span of five to ten years and can even be re-used just like regular PET bottles.