According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists estimate that eight million metric tons of plastic—approximately the weight of 90 aircraft carriers—finds its way into the oceans every year. The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco) wants to help manufacturers and distributors reduce their single-use plastic waste by creating bottles made from degradable plant sugars rather than fossil fuels. BillerudKorsnäs, a paper packaging developer, first started this initiative in 2013, and has been joined by research companies and industry leaders like Avantium and ALPLA. The project proudly announced in October 2019 that Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, and Absolut had joined their efforts.
The historic brewery, Carlsberg, has been a long-time partner of the Paper Bottle Project and explained in a press release, “We are working on developing the world’s first ‘paper’ beer bottle made from sustainably-sourced wood fibers that is both 100% bio-based and fully recyclable.” Shortly after, the brewing company unveiled its first paper bottle for their Pilsner beer as proof of concept on their social media sites. These paper bottles, made out of a plant-based polymer called “PEF,” are expected to be fully recyclable and to naturally degrade within a year, unlike their plastic counterparts. The sustainability company which creates these bottles hopes to have them ready for consumer use by 2023.
Paboco Technical Director Christina Carlsen says, “Being part of this journey from the beginning, inventing the technology and building the first machine for the paper bottle with my bare hands is my chance to make a difference. A difference towards a sustainable world for future generations. What we are doing is not just a new bottle, we are making a difference.”
This push towards eliminating single-use plastics comes off of last year's momentum to begin reducing plastic straw use in many countries and corporations around the globe. Similarly, entire countries are trying their hardest to positively contribute to sustainability initiatives like China’s plan to ban plastic bags in all of its major cities by the end of 2020. Through these projects, we can see that the global community is taking responsibility for the growing environmental waste problem and is using innovation and human ingenuity to help ensure we have a clean, healthy Earth for many centuries to come.