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Food Industry News

The Yorkshire 'bubble science' business aiming to pop the plastic pollution problem


The Yorkshire 'bubble science' business aiming to pop the plastic pollution problem


"What our team of bubble scientists have come up with is CO2Sustain which is able to retain carbon dioxidein carbonated drinks, making drinks fizzier and for longer."
John Story, MD and founder of COSustain



With millions of people stocking up on carbonated drinks for the festive season, a Leeds-based manufacturing business has come up with an ingenious way of helping to tackle the global problem of plastic pollution.

CO2Sustain has pioneered an innovative solution that can proactively aid the process of ‘lightweighting’ a technique that aims to drastically reduce plastic consumption in the beverage industry.

As plastic is porous, gas leakage over time is inevitable, capping carbonation shelf life for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaged drinks on average at 12 months. Bottling manufacturers and beverage brands are all too aware that plastic pollution is an international concern that affects everyone. The problem has triggered mounting pressure on manufacturers to reduce plastic usage and their environmental impact. Manufacturers and bottlers are further incentivised to cut down on plastic as they benefit from a substantial cost saving by using less increasingly expensive raw materials.

However, the thinner the plastic bottle, the more porous it becomes and the quicker the carbonated beverage will lose its fizz. This problem is made even worse when producing and distributing in hot climates, where refreshing drinks are in the highest demand, as the elevated temperatures exacerbate carbon dioxide loss.  So despite saving money and resources in one area by reducing plastic usage, new obstacles are presented with carbonation shelf life cut shorter and wastage likely to increase. 

John Story, MD and founder of CO2Sustain commented: “Lightweighting is the practice of manufacturing thinner plastic bottles which will biodegrade quicker and use less raw materials. Lightweighting is good news for the drinks companies and for the planet but for drinks manufacturers though, this creates a similar problem to using recycled plastic as the integrity of the PET walls of bottles is compromised and reduces carbonation shelf life. This has the undesirable effect of deterring the manufacturers from doing it.

“This is where we can make a huge difference. What our team of bubble scientists have come up with to address this is to develop CO2Sustain which is able to retain carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks, making drinks fizzier and for longer. This means beverage businesses are free to produce drinks that use less plastic whilst maintaining the carbonation shelf life standard. With no impact on taste or appearance, our innovative non-silicone processing aid has the potential to contribute to massive waste reductions globally which is great news in the global battle against plastic pollution.”

CO2Sustain is widely recognised as one of the industry’s leading innovators. From its manufacturing base in Leeds, CO2Sustain’s team of technical innovations chemists pioneered the preservative-free, liquid processing aid to retain the carbon dioxide content and extends carbonation shelf life of fizzy drinks, using an exclusive patented formulation. 

CO2Sustain currently works with drinks brands and manufacturers across four continents and is active in 25 countries across Europe, the United States and Latin America, India, Africa and the Middle East. Exports are growing at 300 per cent annually. The value of the UK soft drinks sector is estimated to be worth 17.4 billion euros.

Adds John: “CO2Sustain was created to support the beverage industry and improve the consumer experience, but this doesn’t simply stop with taste and mouthfeel. We want to support sustainability innovation and provide drinks brands with that little extra breathing room to find the best planet-friendly solutions that also work for them.

“It’s amazing what can be achieved with collaboration and a few bright sparks to lead the way, so we are confident that by maximising the resources available to us the beverage industry can effectively tackle plastic pollution and provide a brighter future for all of us.”

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