Enzyme technology for plastics recycling backed by global companies

The world’s first enzyme technology for the recycling of plastics is being backed by a global consortium of key stakeholders.

Announced yesterday (29 April), Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe have entered into a major partnership with beauty product producer L’Oréal to facilitate the industrial-scale market launch of the new enzymatic technology. This tech has been developed by Carbios, a company pioneering new, bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers.

The process utilises highly specific enzymes that break down PET plastic waste (one of the most common forms of plastic used in manufacturing today) into its original building blocks. The use of enzymes facilitates a broader recycling of PET plastics and polyester fibres feedstock than other recycling technologies can achieve. At the end, recycled PET is produced, equivalent to virgin PET, which can be used for applications like bottles and other forms of packaging.

This biological approach can handle all forms of PET plastics (clear, coloured, opaque and multilayer) and polyester fibres. The process requires limited heat and no pressure or solvents, which reduces the process’ environmental footprint.