US producer of plastic packaging Amcor Rigid Plastics has announced plans to develop polyethylene terephthalate (PET) wine bottles with both synthetic and natural corks.
The company says that the addition of corks could make the bottles resemble more traditional glass wine bottles.
Amcor market development manager Yi Jiang said the corks maintain the traditional wine experience and can ensure smooth conversion to PET.
The wine bottles' gas barrier is applied using a glass-like material called Plasmax, a plasma coating that seals the container from inside to protect the contents from oxidation.
Depending on the size, the PET bottles with the coating have a 1-2 year shelf life for wine.
The Plasmax is an ultra-thin, transparent material, less than 100nm, and is an FDA-compliant enhanced passive barrier for oxygen-sensitive products that resists cracking, abrasion, and delamination.
Amcor said the barrier does not limit the storage time for empty bottles and will not degrade over time.
During the recycling process, the coating is easily removed and does not contaminate the system, the company added.
Amcor, which already has commercial sales of blow moulded PET wine bottles, said its wine bottle with a cork is still in the development stage and that the launch date will be determined by development progress and market demand.
The Cork Quality Council estimates that worldwide cork production could be slightly less than 13 billion wine stoppers per year.
Image: Amcor says that the addition of corks will help PET bottles look like traditional glass wine bottles. Photo: Amcor