Local entrepreneurs Nicholas De Beer and Kyle Creese from Fortis X, supplier of biodegradable materials, made their zero-plastic, sugar cane bottles that decompose entirely after four weeks. Pictures: Supplied / Fortis X
Local entrepreneurs Nicholas De Beer and Kyle Creese from Fortis X, supplier of biodegradable materials, made their zero-plastic, sugar cane bottles that decompose entirely after four weeks. Pictures: Supplied / Fortis X

SA’s first 100% plant-based bottle being distributed

By Amber Court Time of article published Aug 4, 2020

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Cape Town – Distribution of South Africa's first 100% plant-based bottle is now under way following the completion of testing of the biodegradable container.

Testing of the country's first fully plant-based bottle began in 2018 at the company Fortis X. Since then the company has been able to progress from testing to production and now manufactures these biodegradable bottles in Cape Town.

Local entrepreneurs Nicholas De Beer and Kyle Creese from Fortis X, supplier of biodegradable materials, made their zero-plastic, sugar cane bottles that decompose entirely after four weeks.

The plant bottles function like regular bottles, except it doesn't have harmful fossil fuels but disappears in a natural composting environment.

According to the United Nations, plastic kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100 000 marine animals each year, whilst the average person eats 70 000 micro-plastics, yearly.

The first tests of the plant-based bottle were finalised by the end of last year.

“More South African companies are choosing to utilise the Fortis X revolutionary bottles to decrease their carbon footprint,” said De Beer.

The company's plant-based bottles have no additives, such as the oxo-degradable plastics.

Oxo-degradable plastic means plastic materials which include additives, through oxidation (to gain oxygen), that lead to the fragmentation of plastic material into micro-fragments or to chemical decomposition.

“There were claims by some groups that oxo-additives supposedly mixed into regular plastic will lead to biodegradation. Fortis X makes absolutely no use of such an additive,” he stressed.

Revolutionary bioplastic products is made entirely from naturally occurring plant sugar (dextrose) found in harvested plant starch.

The bottle only has sugar cane plants and were tested extensively to prove biodegradation.

“We have chosen a material that truly comes from plant-based resources, that can be scaled up for production and is proven to biodegrade quickly in compost,” said De Beer.

Many products can be made from bio-based polymers and Fortis X specialises in producing bottles and bottle preforms, according to the entrepreneur.

“The bottles are tested as food-contact safe, with zero leaching into the contents inside. Further testing proved rapid decomposition in certain environments, especially with compost. Such materials degrade into lactic acid, which is a valuable soil supplement,” he added.

De Beer told Weekend Argus the bottle has been proven to decompose rapidly in compost and other environmental conditions are currently being tested.

“Fortis X provides bottle collections services and also works with several waste management companies to collect used, discarded bottles,” he said.

Plastic pollution has been shown to leach toxins into the environment, while bottles made from plants contain zero harmful chemicals and do not leach any toxins, explained De Beer.

“Plastic lasts hundreds of years without biodegradation and glass even longer. These bottles can quickly decompose, eliminating the threat to wildlife and the environment,” he stressed.

These bottles have more end-of-life options than any traditional PET plastic, De Beer said. Such bottles produce 60% less greenhouse gases and use 50% less fossil fuels in their production.

Weekend Argus

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