Heinz and The Coca-Cola Co. have entered a partnership that will see the sauce manufacturer produce its ketchup bottles using the soft drink firm’s sustainable PlantBottle packaging.

The PET plastic bottles are made partially from plants and are said to rely less on non-renewable resources compared with traditional PET plastic bottles. The partnership is an industry-first, the two firms said yesterday (23 February). The two companies said they hope others will follow to “transform” how foods are packaged globally.

PlantBottle packaging looks, feels and functions the same as traditional PET plastic, and remains fully recyclable, the companies said. The only difference is that up to 30% of the material is made from plants. At the moment, PlantBottle is made using sugarcane ethanol from Brazil. The material is produced through a process that turns natural sugars found in plants into a key component for PET plastic.

“PlantBottle is revolutionising plastic, and our partnership with Heinz is paving the way for industry-wide collaboration,” said Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. “This partnership is a great example of how businesses are working together to advance smart technologies that make a difference to our consumers and the planet we all share.”

Coca-Cola first launched PlantBottle in 2009 on brands including Coke, Sprite, Fresca, ilohas, Sokenbicha and Dasani water. The bottle is used in nine markets including the US, Denmark and Brazil. Coca-Cola said it plans to expand to over a dozen new markets in 2011.