South African company revolutionises the plastic and bottle industries! 100% plant-based bottle by two South African entrepreneurs is a global breakthrough!
South Africa continues to prove itself as one of the most forward-thinking, environmentally aware countries in the world. Two local entrepreneurs attest to this with their zero-plastic, sugar cane bottles, which decompose entirely after four weeks.
Nicholas de Beer and Kyle Creese from Fortis X in South Africa now manufacture the continent’s first biodegradable and compostable products made 100% from plants, with zero plastic and no additives. The plant bottles function like normal plastic bottles, but without harmful fossil-fuels and disappear in a natural composting environment.
We have a severe plastic pollution problem exacerbated by the increased production of masks and sanitiser bottles during the global coronavirus pandemic
Each year during Plastic Free July, environmentalists, organisations, and nature activists put a spotlight on the devastating effects of single-use plastic in the 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 microplastics yearly. In 2017, Kenya became the second African country to introduce one of the world’s toughest laws against plastic bags, following Rwanda’s plastic ban in 2008. Other countries that have banned, partially banned, or taxed single-use plastic bags include China, France, and Italy.
Fortis X already supplies and exports their bottles to Rwanda (who banned single-use plastic) and is currently in talks with Kenya to do the same, while more South African companies are choosing to utilise the Fortis X revolutionary bottles to decrease their carbon footprint.
Plastic pollution is public enemy number one in the world. It takes a few minutes to use a plastic bottle, but up to 400 years for one plastic bottle to decompose in the environment – a real threat to human and animal life according to scientists. Soft drink giants, Coca Cola who also happen to be one of the largest contributors to plastic pollution has recently announced its decision to trial plastic-free solutions by 2025 with Avantium.
What makes the Fortis X plant-based bottles cutting-edge is that the company uses no additives, such as the oxo-degradable plastics that were banned by the European Union two years ago. Some companies want to use plastic products with oxo-additives, which are artificial additives that claim to biodegrade a product – with no evidence that it fully biodegrades, according to the European Bioplastics Association, who supported the European Union’s ban on oxo-additives posing as a biodegradable solution.
According to Nicholas De Beer, Fortis X takes a firm stance against oxo-additives. “There were claims by some groups that oxo-additives supposedly mixed into regular plastic will lead to biodegradation. This was not the case and Fortis X makes absolutely no use of such an additive. We only use sugarcane plants and our bottles have been 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,” says Nicholas De Beer.
Started in 2008, Fortis X entered the manufacturing arena by producing medical products and packaging material. In 2018, they started testing biodegradable and plant-based solutions. This range of revolutionary bioplastic products is made entirely from naturally-occurring plant sugar (dextrose) found in harvested plant starch. Many products can be made from bio-based polymers and Fortis X specialises in producing bottles and bottle preforms.
“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,” says Nicholas.