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NEWS: Coke to spin the PlantBottle at the Olympics

In June 2009, the Globe and Mail reported that, “Coca-Cola Co. …is using the 2010 Winter Olympics to trumpet its ‘environmental call to action’…”

“One major push will likely be for what Coca-Cola calls the PlantBottle… The new bottle is 30 per cent sugar cane and molasses, blended as a component in the traditional petroleum-based plastic…”

“To get its green message across at the Olympics, Coca-Cola will likely feature marketing for the PlantBottle, which was unveiled (in May 2009), using the bottle for its Dasani water…”


According to the Globe and Mail article, Coca-Cola plans to sell 7.5 million beverages at the Winter Olympic Games.

“It takes 2.5 litres of water to make one litre of Coca-Cola and as much as 250 litres once growing the sugar cane used in the drink is factored in. By 2010, Coca-Cola in Canada aims to cut its water usage by (a mere) 10 per cent at its plants.”

For bottled water, it takes three to five litres of water to produce a one-litre plastic bottle.

If the PlantBottle is 70% petroleum-based plastic, and 30% plastic made from sugar (which can use 5 megalitres of water per hectare to produce) and molasses (a viscous byproduct of the processing of sugar cane or sugar beets into sugar), there is still a considerable amount of water use required for the bottle.

Multiply the above figures by just the 7.5 million beverages Coke intends to sell at the Olympics, and Coke clearly fails any ‘environmental call to action’ with respect to water use.


A ‘Tap It’ blog states, “Regardless of what materials are used, bottles need to be manufactured, shipped and recycled. It takes 2,000 times the energy to produce and ship bottled water to the consumer than drinking from the tap.”

“Since Dasani is tap water to begin with, the greenest choice is clearly to go straight to the source and fill up your own reusable water bottle.”

Another blog says, “Napcor (National Association for PET Container Resources) calls for restraint in the use of degradable additives in PET packaging. Napcor, the trade organization for the PET packaging industry, is concerned that no data has been made publicly available to substantiate or document:

1) the claims of degradability of PET resin products containing degradable additives;

2) the effect of degradable additives on the quality of the PET recycling stream;

3) the impacts of degradable additives on the products made from recycled PET; and

4) the true impact on the service life of these products.

In this light Napcor urges manufacturers of PET resin and packaging to refrain from introductions of degradable additive-containing products until data is made available for review and verification.


The Council of Canadians rejects bottled water and is critical of Coca-Cola’s greenwashing strategies.

Coca-Cola’s bottled water products promote the commodification of water, which is a human right and a public resource.

Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand is municipal tap water (from Calgary and Brampton) paid for by public funds and acquired by the corporation for next to nothing, then unnecessarily filtered and sold for profit.

In the coming weeks, the Council of Canadians will be producing a fact sheet, an action alert, a short report, and placard-sized signs reflecting our concerns about bottled water, Coca-Cola, and their greenwashing plans for the Olympic Games.


For more information about our ‘unbottle it’ campaign, please go to www.canadians.org/water/issues/Unbottle_It/index.html.

To read the Council campaign blog – Coke’s Olympic ‘bluewashing’ plans – go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=702.

The other blog posting noted above are at http://www.tapitwater.com/blog/2009/05/dasani-to-start-using-plantbottle-is-it-really-more-sustainable.html and at http://www.amsteeman.com/?tag=dasani

The Napcor press release is at http://www.napcor.com/pdf/NAPCOR-DegradableAdditives.pdf.