Sustainability

Odwalla Transitions to 100% Plant-Based Bottles

Odwalla becomes the first beverage manufacturer to transition its single-serve drink to a new and sustainable package while still maintaining its 100 percent recyclability.

By Food Processing staff

In April 2011, Half Moon Bay, Calif.-based Odwalla Inc., a Coca-Cola company, became the first company to transition its single-serve offering – which represents more than 80 percent of the company’s total business – to a new and sustainable package made of up to 100 percent plant-based materials (minimum of 96 percent) while still maintaining its 100 percent recyclability. Additionally, Odwalla reduced the single-serve bottle’s size from 15.2-fluid oz to 12-fluid oz.

Developed by Coca-Cola, the PlantBottle consists of HDPE plastic made of up to 100 percent plant-based materials derived from sugarcane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production. Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well. A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the PlantBottle with 30 percent plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.

(Earlier this year, Coca-Cola opened the world's largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., which produces approximately 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic for reuse each year -- the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-oz Coca-Cola bottles.

Helping to cut the plant’s carbon footprint by an estimated 35 percent, Odwalla recently completed the installation of five fuel cells operating on redirected bio-gas at its juice packaging plant in Dinuba, Calif. Through its annual Plant a Tree program, Odwalla has donated $350,000 worth of trees to state parks across the country to support reforestation and planting initiatives over the last three years.

Less than 1 percent of the by-products of Odwalla’s packaging plant in Dinuba goes into landfills. Pulp, peels and cullage are used as livestock feed; plastic and cardboard are baled and recycled; and worn-out equipment and other metals are sold as scrap. And most of the fresh produce Odwalla uses is locally grown.

“The PlantBottle packaging represents a significant step in Odwalla’s ongoing sustainability efforts to protect our planet,” said Alison Lewis, president, Odwalla. “Since the brand’s inception in 1980, it has maintained a very simple vision: Make great juice, do good things for the community, and build a business with a heart. Such a simple vision has proven to have a large impact, especially when supported by a guiding principle of respect – respect for our consumers who rely on us for nourishing beverages, and respect for our earth on which we rely for holistic nourishment.”