PepsiCo announces the world’s first petroleum-free plastic bottle in an effort to further reduce its carbon footprint and answer criticism from environmentalists.

Today, PepsiCo unveiled a breakthrough in bottle technology with the announcement of the world’s first petroleum-free plastic bottle in an effort to further reduce its carbon footprint by piloting production of the new bottle in 2012. The snack and soft drinks company will use raw materials such as switch grass, pine bark and corn husks, and has identified methods to create a molecular structure that is identical to polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is the plastic material used to produce a majority of bottles. The race to create a petroleum-free bottle was triggered in 2009 when Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola unveiled a bottle that was 30 percent plant-based. Environmentalists have been critical of petroleum-based plastic because of their high carbon emissions and for being slow to biodegrade.

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