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New Plastic Water Bottles Will Decompose in 30 Days

Conventional plastic water bottles take 1 million years to decay in a landfill, according to scientists.

Boyd Rutherford strikes again—this time, the topic is plastic water bottles.

Readers may recall that Rutherford brought a commercial composting machine named ORCA to our attention in October.

Three weeks ago, Rutherford, a strategic advisor to Totally Green, the Tulsa, OK, manufacturer of ORCA, read my post on plastic bottle houses that reported it would take a million years for a PET bottle to decompose in a landfill. He contacted me to say that Totally Green invented a plastic bottle, dubbed Indigo, that can be recycled or will decompose in an industrial compost pile.

Indigo is based on plant materials rather than petroleum-based plastic. The resulting container is known as PLA plastic, according to a Totally Green website.

“While PET bottles litter landfills for thousands of years, these earth-friendly, PLA bottles completely degrade biologically in an industrial grade compost pile in approximately 30 days,” said Rutherford.

First-generation Indigo bottles were a translucent green that consumers didn’t especially care for. Totally Green has now introduced a redesigned bottle that is transparent and sports a new, more colorful label.

“The company and its customers made the decision to change to clear bottles in order to raise awareness that being green wasn’t just about the bottle color,” said Mark Hight, director of Green Bottle Spring Water, a brand under which Totally Green distributes water in its PLA bottles.

Totally Green’s major distributor, Admiral Express, is already shipping the new bottles.

“We offer pure spring water from the earth’s own filtration system, and bottled in an eco-friendly package that helps ensure a clean environment for future generations,” said Hight.

For the record, although I still think plastic water bottles are evil, I prefer PLA bottles that will decompose.

Thanks again, Boyd.

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Lorraine Kelly January 31, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Finally! This is great news.
MG42 January 31, 2012 at 05:47 PM
If they'll decompose in 30 days in an "industrial compost pile", how long will it take them to break down in storage? Like, sitting in your pantry or on a store shelf, for example?
Lorraine Kelly January 31, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Ohai, Good question. I would think it has something to do with exposure to the sunlight etc, similar to the doggy waste bags.You could probably Google it!
NO Thankyou January 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Great news! We're sharing this!
Brook Hubbard January 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Ohai, does bring up some interesting concerns. I researched a little and found out a couple of facts about PLA products: 1) Shelf-life of 2-4 months. 2) Have problems in heat or extreme moisture, requiring temperature-controlled environments. 3) Less impact-resistant than standard bottles. This information was pulled off a fact sheet by ENSO bottles, a competitor for PLA and oxo-degradable plastics. As long as these facts are accurate, it would seem ENSO beat Rutherford and Totally Green to the punch in creating a legitimate alternative to standard plastics.

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