New ‘industry-first sustainable bottle’ biodegrades at accelerated rate

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

BtrBtl biodegrades far faster than conventional plastics. Pic: So Good So You
BtrBtl biodegrades far faster than conventional plastics. Pic: So Good So You

Related tags Plastic Sustainability

So Good So You has repackaged its wellness shots in its new BtrBtl packaging, which biodegrades at an accelerated rate: breaking down plastic ‘in years vs centuries’.

The US brand is moving from its 100% rPET bottles to ‘an even better solution’ - saying that overfilled landfills are the core problem with plastic.

The new ‘BtrBtl’ (pronounced ‘better bottle’) uses an additive in the plastic, and biodegrades around 30% in the first year in landfill*.

Now launching on shelves

So Good So You – which has a leading market share of 25% in the wellness shot category according to SPINS data – took nearly two years to develop the new BtrBtl before announcing its achievement ahead of the scheduled Expo West.

The bottle is now rolling out on shelves, with every shot from the company’s range using the new packaging.

So Good So You’s plant-based functional beverages have been packaged in 100% rPET bottles since day one, but the brand wanted to find ‘an even better solution’, explained Rita Katona, co-founder.

We decided to get to the root of the issue: overwhelmed landfills,”​ she said. “Trash from landfills is devastating the world - more than 90% of plastic waste and 70% of glass ends up in landfills, regardless of proper recycling. Glass is not a superior material as it takes up to a million years to break down. Landfills pollute water and soil sources for millions of people, and contribute to climate change.

“So, in an effort to fight the landfill crisis, we launched BtrBtl.”

The BtrBtl is now made from 100% PET and uses ‘a proprietary corn-based additive that is triggered by the heat and micro-organisms present in commercial, biologically active landfills to break down at an accelerated rate’.

BtrBtl-Push copy

BtrBtl can be recycled in the same way as any plastic bottle through normal recycling steams. But if it does end up in landfill, an additive in the plastic breaks it down at an accelerated rate, allowing for conversion of the packaging into water, soil and carbon-based gases, which can be collected and converted into clean energy at landfill facilities.

It does this by facilitating the production of naturally occurring enzymes in common waste-environment micro-organisms that restructure the plastic’s polymer.

There is a cost to the polymer additive that gets added to plastic to result in the accelerated biodegradation,”​ said Katona. “However, we are absolutely not passing that cost on to the consumer as we want BtrBtl to be a reason they choose to buy So Good So You, not a deterrent.”

How long does it take to biodegrade? 

Testing shows that treated PET used for BtrBtl biodegrades between 31 and 37% after 391 days in landfill– compared to 2% for untreated PET. This means that a BtrBtl biodegrates over 30% in the first year alone in commercial landfill conditions.

As to how long it takes to biodegrade in its entirety:“One can certainly extrapolate the results from the test which went to 391 days, however, as all landfills are slightly different in the type of micro-organisms that are present, results in actual landfill conditions will vary,” ​explains Katona.

“For context, traditional PET typically takes hundreds of years to break down in commercial landfills.”

Same user experience

So Good So You’s plant-based functional beverages are made with organic and non-GMO verified ingredients. Each one of the brand’s juice shots contain 1 billion CFUs of probiotics to support the immune and digestive system.

The shots can be found in 47 states across 4,000 stores including Target, Publix, Sprouts, Safeway and more.

Products are manufactured and packaged in its zero-waste facility in Minneapolis, which is powered by 100% renewable energy.

The bottle has been designed to look and feel similar to other plastics, offering the same experience that consumers are used to.

In designing BtrBtl, we didn’t want consumers to experience any change in their consumption experience or need additional instructions on how to discard the bottle – it can be recycled just like any other plastic and will not have a negative impact on the recycling stream, it simply has a much smaller impact on the environment if the recycling stream fails, which unfortunately, it often does," ​said Katona. 

“This ensures that there is no need for consumers to change their behavior whatsoever - and simply results in an optimized end-of-life result for our product packaging.”

The next step for the brand will be to tackle the label and cap in order to create ‘a complete zero-footprint packaging solution’.  

* Accelerated biodegradation based on ASTM D5526-94 testing showing that the treated PET used for the BtrBtl biodegrades 31.7 – 37.0 % after 391 days in active landfill conditions compared to 2% biodegradation of untreated PET

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