PLA bottles soon to be released in Italy
In terms of production, the company has subcontracted the preform molding (while keeping complete control of the raw material supply and its quality) while it has installed two new complete bottling lines for the bottles, 0.5 and 1.5 liters respectively, both made by Krones.
According to the President of Fonti di Vinadio, currently the "biobottle" costs 2 to 3 times that of a conventional PET bottle (pricing policy for sale has not yet been defined) in terms of both the higher raw material cost and the overall cost of production, logistics, and distribution due to small-scale production. Bertone is certain that they when they shift to large volume production, this gap will be reduced significantly.
The issue of recovery and recycling of the packaging at end-of-product-life is still open. Bertone believes that the introduction of the new PLA bottles will not have a negative impact on the recycling chain. "There are systems to separate bottles based on material and, as happened when the switch to PET occurred, the supply chain will know how to manage the introduction of a new material." The limited number of PLA bottles that will enter the Italian market - 50 million in a market of 5 billion - should not cause any problems of "contamination" in PET recycling plants.
Given the product's shelf life, less than that of PET bottles, Bertone stated that this limit will become the product's strong point, as consumers will buy "fresher" water.
The policy of the company located in Piedmont remains focused on the environmental aspects of the project.
- If we consider 50 million biobottles weighing 27 grams each, compared to the same quantity of PET bottles, we will save 13,600 barrels of crude oil, or the same amount of energy it takes to supply electricity to 40,000 people for an entire month - commented Alberto Bertone. - In Vinadio we are able to produce 50 million bottles per week. And Italy disposes of 5 billion bottles per year.
The plant in Vinadio is able to produce about 310,000 bottles per hour, or 7.5 million per day. In 2007, the company sold 650 million bottles of mineral water for a turnover of about ? 150 million.