This uplifting news comes to us from France.
A French startup is poised to solve the majority of the world’s recycling problems with the help of a new process that employs enzymes to break down the problematic PET plastics. The new form will be a form so pure that it can also be used to make clear water bottles that will act and look like those made from petroleum.
Carbios is the name of the company and it envisions a circular plastic economy where nothing is left to go to waste. In order to make this happen, they have the money as well as the backing from major global corporations.
Carbios had a very productive year so far and this bio-recycling company got hold of two U.S patents for its proprietary enzymatic process to break down, purify and also reuse a wide array of PET plastic waste. This turns out to be only a small fraction of what is currently recycled. Carbios plans to license the technology used to recycling companies and they already have done so.
Carbios wrapped up funding for the construction of a new recycling plant that will make use of enzymes to bio recycle, all together and in a few hours- multicolored plastic- for example food trays and polyester shirts; the recycling rate for these is close to zero.
The company is seen as keen to satisfy the need and has already established strategic partnerships with companies like Nestle Waters, PepsiCo, LÓreal and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. All these companies want to help to get the recycling technology to market as quickly as possible. These corporations are supporting Carbios with funding as well as expertise.
As of now, the PET bottles are normally coded with the identification code number 1 inside a recycling symbol on the bottom of the container. These bottles can be shredded and used to make lower grade products. The products include carpets, Adidas shoes, and graduation gowns. However, to make a food-grade plastic the bottles have to be hydrolyzed to monomers and then purified. This is exactly what Carbios does in a process they call as an infinite loop.
In February 2019, Carbios announced that it had successfully manufactured the first PET bottles made with 100% Purified Terephthalic Acid, the organic compound used to make PET packaging and products, through the enzymatic process of recycling plastic waste. This is a major milestone and seeks to engage the whole industry in a responsible transition towards a circular economy.
Image source: How It Works Daily