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Has Bacardi solved the world’s plastic problem?

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A few years ago, forward-thinking employees at Bacardi Ltd. realized they had a problem. Consumers were increasingly fed up with petroleum-based plastics, which contribute to ocean pollution and climate change. Yet that’s exactly what the company was using in the 80 million bottles of spirits it sold each year.

Would it be possible, they wondered, to produce bottles with something less harmful to the environment — and to their own brand?

Now they have an answer. In 2023, Bacardi will start using bottles made with a remarkable new bioplastic called Nodax PHA. Unlike traditional bottles, the new ones will biodegrade in compost piles, special landfills and even the ocean.

It’s an impressive feat of innovation. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite the “silver bullet” the company claims. In fact, the new project shows just how hard it’s going to be to solve the world’s plastic crisis.

Bacardi started thinking seriously about the issue in the mid-2010s, as global public opinion began to fixate on the problem of ocean plastics. Bottles of the type that hold Bacardi’s booze can actually be recycled at a very high rate — in Norway roughly 97% of them are.

The problem is that very few places are able to achieve........

© The Japan Times

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