The Fiber Wire

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Pepsi’s Paper Bottle Patent

Last week an article caught my eye on Facebook. ‘Crystal Clear Pepsi is Reintroduced for a Limited Time!’ I got excited. When Crystal Clear Pepsi hit the shelves it was marketed around a ‘clear is pure’ fad of the early 90s. No caffeine. No coloring. It was the ‘healthy’ alternative to conventional sodas. My own health conscious mother even allowed it in the house once in a while. It’s said the product failed because it didn’t taste good but, not getting much soda as a ten-year-old, any liquid sugar was alright by me. I was a paragraph into the article when I noticed the source was a popular satirical newspaper. I’m still a little disappointed.

PepsiCo has been in the news recently for a non-satirical reason, the filing of a patent for making bottles out of cellulosic pulp. Making paper bottles is certainly not new. The UK company GreenBottle introduced the world’s first paper milk bottle in 2007. The paper milk bottle replaced laminated cartons and plastic bottles with a corrugated cardboard form made from recycled content with a loose plastic lining insert for the liquid. The California-based company EcoLogic introduced the first paper bottles to the United States market with similar technology. It is now responsible for manufacturing the bottles for the PaperBoy wine company and for the Seventh Generation cleaning products line. Both of these packaging companies’ products are recyclable and reduce the amount of plastics in the waste stream.

PepsiCo’s patent is proposing a different method of manufacture. Instead of the loose plastic insert, PepsiCo will fuse the plastic lining to the fiber form of the bottle. You won’t see your Pepsi served up in these bottles, as high levels of carbonation prove problematic for the packaging design. However, Pepsi owns Gatorade, Sobe Lifewater, Naked Juice and Tropicana and partners with Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages. These are all possible applications for the new paper bottles.

An article from BeverageDaily.com suggested that the paper bottles will have a challenge competing against the established options of cans, cartons and plastic. They speculated that the paper bottle lacks sex appeal which might be its undoing. My hope is that the rise in consumer environmental consciousness is not a fad like the ‘purity equals clarity’ hype of the early 1990s. My hope is that there are more and more paper bottles on the grocery store shelves and in the recycling bins.

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2014 by in Paper Industry and tagged , , , , , , , .
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