Taking risks with the brand

The Goodall household is well-trained. Compostable products get put on the compost heap. Plastic bottles end up in the recycling bin. Where should Innocent’s new smoothie bottles made from bio-degradable corn starch go? Surprisingly, the answer is into landfill. Innocent, the company with one of the purest brands in the UK, has made a mistake. For the last year it has used a new material called PLA for one of its ranges of drinks. It admitted last week that it would cease to use this bio-plastic later this year. But on its website it was still making some surprising claims. It says that the bottles made from this bio-plastic break down in garden compost heaps. They will not. PLA needs to be heated for several days to temperatures far greater than those in a domestic compost bin before it begins to rot. The bottles would break down in a commercial composter, but very few local authorities operate one of these plants. Innocent’s ethical consumers are going to find a large number of plastic bottles at the bottom of their compost heap next spring.

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