NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co announced a plan on Thursday that brings it closer to rolling out soft drink bottles made entirely from plant-based plastic.
The move is the latest shift in the race between Coke and its archrival PepsiCo Inc to use greener packaging, a challenge for carbonated beverages that put a lot of pressure on the walls of the bottles.
The world's largest maker of non-alcoholic drinks said it signed agreements with three biotechnology companies -- Gevo Inc, Virent and Avantium -- to create plant-based plastic on a global scale so Coke can use it in bottles for drinks from its trademark cola to Dasani water.
The bottles should roll out in the next few years, a Coke executive said.
In 2009, Coke introduced a plastic bottle that was up to 30 percent plant-based and has since distributed more than 10 billion of them in 20 countries.
The latest step allows the remaining 70 percent of the material to be derived from plants.
Coke's goal is to satisfy all of its non-recycled plastic needs with plant-based plastic by 2020.
Over the summer, PepsiCo introduced bottles for its 7UP brand in Canada made from 100 percent plant-based material.
(Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)