Plant-based smoothie bottles FAQ
Most plastic is fossil fuel-based—made from oil or natural gas. The plastic used to make our smoothie bottles starts as sugarcane juice.
Once sugarcane is grown, the juice is extracted, fermented and distilled into ethanol. The ethanol is then dehydrated to form ethylene and polymerized into high-density polyethylene (HDPE), also known as #2 plastic.
The resulting product is virtually indistinguishable from other #2 plastic, and it's made from renewable plants that consume CO2 as they grow.
Sugarcane is a renewable resource, unlike petroleum or natural gas—the sources of most plastic. Further, the very act of growing plants reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere.
The sugarcane-based HDPE (#2 plastic) used for our bottles offsets CO2 emissions, compared to petroleum-based HDPE, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change. With the switch from petroleum-based plastic to plastic made from sugarcane, we reduced our CO2 emissions from our bottles by 65%. Our carbon footprint.
The sugarcane used to make our bottles is cultivated without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This sugarcane is all grown in Brazil, where GMO sugarcane is prohibited by federal law. More about GMOs.
The technology and facilities to make plastic from plants are new and limited, and sugarcane is now the only plant being used on a large scale to make #2 plastic. We expect to someday see #2 plastic made from many different types of plants. As new technologies emerge, we'll examine them to determine which materials and processes are best for our use.
We use sugarcane-based bottles for all Stonyfield drinkable yogurts, including our Super Smoothies and YoBaby drinkable yogurt.
Also, since October 2010, all our multipack cups (yogurt 4-packs and 6-pack cups) have been made from plant-based plastic.
Yes. The sugarcane-based plastic used for our smoothie bottles is HDPE (or #2 plastic), which is approved by the FDA for use in food packaging. While the raw material used to make this HDPE is different (plants, instead of petroleum), the end product is virtually indistinguishable from the HDPE that's been used by food manufacturers for years.
Yes. You can recycle them exactly as you'd recycle any HDPE (#2) bottle.
No. Although the bottles are derived from plants, they are #2 plastic bottles, which can't be composted. Our plant-based bottles can, however, be recycled, like any other #2 plastic.
No. Our move from petroleum-based to plant-based plastic had no impact on the look or feel of our bottles, and there's no difference in the taste of our products. Plant-based plastic is virtually indistinguishable from regular, petroleum-based HDPE (#2 plastic). You can also recycle our plant-based smoothie bottles along with other #2 plastics.
No. That's the next step on our smoothie packaging journey. Right now, our bottle lids are made of traditional #2 HDPE plastic. Only the bottle itself is made from plant-based plastic.
The sugarcane used for our plant-based smoothie bottle is grown on Brazilian farms that must participate in three governmental programs:
- Agro-ecological zoning: Assuring the cane is not grown in the most ecologically sensitive areas of the country (Amazon, Pantanal or Paraguay River Basin).
- Ethanol Verde program: Promoting environmentally sustainable practices, such as reducing burning and minimizing water use.
- Social National Commitment: Guaranteeing new rights and a better quality of life for farm workers.
Switching all of our bottles to plant-based plastic reduced the CO2 emissions from our bottles by 65%. This reduced our overall packaging carbon footprint by about 10%. Our carbon footprint.
No. At this time, we're unable to source HDPE (#2 plastic) made from organic sugarcane, but you can be sure we'll be looking for ways to do this as the technology continues to emerge.
Yes. The sugarcane used in the manufacture of plant-based HDPE is cultivated without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This sugarcane is grown in Brazil, where GMO sugarcane is prohibited by federal law.
The technology and manufacturing used to derive #2 plastic (HDPE) from sugarcane was developed in Brazil. This is an emerging technology, and there's no plant-based #2 plastic currently being made in the United States. Also, Brazil is ideally suited to produce this material because it has sufficient arable land available. Even with the environmental impact of overseas transportation, our use of plant-based plastic still reduced the carbon footprint of our bottles by 65%.