* Coke, Ford, Heinz, Nike, P&G form working group
* Aim to speed development, use of plant-based plastic (Recasts, adds background on Coke's plant bottle)
June 5 (Reuters) - Five of the biggest names in American business have formed a group to accelerate the development and use of plant-based plastic.
Coca-Cola Co, Ford Motor Co, H.J. Heinz Co , Nike Inc and Procter & Gamble Co said on Tuesday they are committed to advancing research and development to support a commercially viable, sustainably sourced plastic made entirely from plant materials, while reducing the use of fossil fuels.
The collaboration builds on Coke's "plant bottle" packaging technology, which is partially made from material derived from sugar cane. Heinz has already licensed the technology from Coke for some Heinz ketchup bottles.
Coke, the world's biggest soft drink maker, gets sugar cane-based ethanol from plantations in Brazil that it says are far from the Amazon rain forests. It is also working to develop a way to capture sugar from plant waste.
All the companies in the working group use the plastic PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, in products ranging from plastic bottles, clothing and shoes to automotive fabric and carpet. (Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)