Did you know that 32 million tons of plastic waste is generated in the U.S. each year? That’s equivalent to about 242.5 football fields filled with plastic waste. That’s a big problem. But it’s one that we at Ecover are working hard to help solve. And our solution is pretty sweet (literally).
This is our proprietary plant-sourced plastic made from sugarcane. We take sustainably harvested* sugarcane and refine it into sugar. The sugar is then fermented and distilled to produce ethanol. The ethanol is dehydrated to produce ethylene, which is polymerized to produce the plastic. We chose sugarcane specifically because sugar drives the fermentation process. By starting with a high sugar plant, the process is much more efficient than using a less sweet plant, like corn or beets.
Our bottles are a blend of 75% Plantplastic® and 25% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR). The blend of Plantplastic® and PCR material is #2 plastic or high density polyethylene (HDPE)—the same type of plastic used for milk jugs and most detergent bottles. By purchasing and using 25% PCR, we provide the demand for recycled materials that drives the recycling economy. And because the Plantplastic® and recycled plastic we use is HDPE, the final bottle can be recycled again in most curbside recycling programs along with your cans and newspapers. Ultimately, using our blend of Plantplastic® and PCR in place of petroleum-based plastic allows us to avoid the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with making virgin plastic.
*The sugarcane is Bonsucro certified. That means that the sugarcane used to make Plantplastic® is sustainably harvested according to a supplier code of conduct. This ensures that the sugar is grown on existing croplands to protect biodiversity, using as little water as possible and incorporating fair labor practices.