So how do they make plastic out of plants?

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Coca-Cola makes their plant bottle using Brazilian sugar cane. The sugar cane is first fermented with yeast. The sugars react with the yeast to form ethanol. The resulting product is approximately ten percent ethanol by volume. The product is then distilled to reduce it even further so the resulting product is virtually 100 % ethanol.


Next, ethanol is transformed into an ethylene intermediate when it is reacted with a dehydrating catalyst. Ethylene is then oxidized into ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol can then be reacted with terephthalic acid to make polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. This is used to make the bottles.

Below is an overview of the process, contrasting the original method to the newer, greener method of bottle production.
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The Basics of Polyethelyene Terephthalate
How does the Plant Bottle Compare?
The Future of Coca Cola
Our tour of the Coca-Cola Plant in Londonderry
Works Cited