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DUBAI: The region’s first plant-based bottle that is 100 per cent recyclable was launched on Monday on the sidelines of Gulfood 2020 as part of the UAE Innovation Month initiative.

Agthia Group PJSC, one of the region’s leading food and beverages companies, launched the product in the presence of Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change
and Environment.

Tariq Al Wahedi, CEO of Agatha Group PJSC Suchitra Bajpal Chaudhary, Senior Reporter

The bio-degradable product will be used to bottle Al Ain water, the company’s signature product which owns a 40 per cent market share of bottled water in the UAE.

Presenting the plant bottle, Tariq Al Wahedi, CEO of Agthia Group PJSC, said: “The bottle is environmentally friendly and made of
100 per cent plant-based sources, including the cap. Thus water bottle serves growing
consumer move toward sustainability as it is biodegradable and compostable within 80 days under specific conditions. The revolutionary innovation is set to improve the carbon footprint by 60 per cent as compared to other packaging material.”

Plant-based polymer

The bottle uses fermented sugars in the plant sources to convert it into a durable 100 per cent plant-based resin called Polylactic Acid or PLA . The resin is durable in the high temperatures of UAE summers.

Agthia also signed an MoU with Veolia, a global leader in optimised resource management to collect , recycle, reuse and compost Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles to combat environment pollution.

Tariq Al Wahedi, CEO of Agthia Group PJSC
Tariq Al Wahedi, CEO of Agthia Group PJSC Image Credit: Supplied

Al Wahedi added: “We will also sign an agreement with the founder members of Gulf Bottling Water Association to share our knowhow as sustainability requires collaboration and knowledge sharing. The association has the mandate of all stakeholders in bottled water distribution in the GCC and we want to speak as one voice with the government and environment agencies.”

He added: “Agthia remains committed to innovation and sustainability through its pioneering packaging innovations and trusted partnerships and aims to remain aligned with the National Sustainability Agenda 2021.”

Dr Al Zeyoudi said, “We are proud of the role Emirati private businesses play in supporting our nationwide drive toward sustainability. We hope to see more businesses across all sectors with the same level of awareness and commitment to reducing their footprint to ensure that the UAE remains sustainable well into the future." 

He added, “Innovation is at the heart of the country's transition to a circular economy. The launch of Al Ain's plant-based water bottle and Agthia's other sustainability initiatives during the UAE innovation month is a prime example of how innovation can go a long way in driving environmental sustainability."  

What is PLA ?

PLA stands for Polylactic Acid. Made from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane, it’s a natural polymer designed to substitute widely used petroleum-based plastics like PET (polyethene terephthalate). In the packaging industry, PLA plastics are often being used for plastic films and food containers.

Compared to its petroleum counterparts, PLA plastic has some great ecofriendly features. According to independent reports, PLA uses 65 per cent less energy and generates 63 per cent fewer greenhouse gases and is classified as biodegradable.