The idea of creating a cheap and simple container that can replace the ubiquitous plastic from petroleum products has been actively circulating in scientific and engineering circles for at least a dozen years. There were projects in corn, cotton, hemp fiber and algae, and now the Cove company has presented its version. Its containers are made of polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymer, already approved by the US Department of Health.
The advantages of bottles made of polyhydroxyalkanoate in a guaranteed short service life - this is also their disadvantage. Such a bottle will last only six months and is technically reusable, it can be washed and reused after purchase. But not for long, after which you can safely throw it anywhere. It is stated that the substance is 100% decomposed in nature into water and organic components, which are composted.
The rate of decomposition of Cove bottles depends on the environment. In the worst-case scenario, once buried in dry sand, bottles will irreversibly degrade within 5 years. In the presence of water, wind, sunlight and other factors, the process is significantly accelerated. During operation, the bottle behaves completely similar to the plastic one and does not create difficulties for consumers.
An important nuance - the short lifespan of Cove bottles forces us to change the strategy of their use. It makes no sense to manufacture containers for future use, fill warehouses or carry them across the sea with the risk of running out of the product's shelf life. It is much more profitable to localize production in key regions, creating new jobs and new supply chains for consumers of such containers.