Solid Waste & Recycling

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French company produces infinitely recyclable PET bottles


Bottles made with Purified Terephthalic Acid (rPTA).

Clermont-Ferrand, France – CARBIOS, a company pioneering new, bioindustrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers,  has produced the first PET-bottles made with 100 per cent Purified Terephthalic Acid (rPTA), through the enzymatic biorecycling of plastic waste.

This milestone is a world-first and confirms the potential of the company’s technology to engage the whole industry in a responsible transition towards a circular economy.

“We have successfully developed the first biological process with which all kinds of PET plastic waste can be broken down into its original components and reused to produce virgin plastic products for applications such as PET-bottles,” said Alain Marty, chief scientific officer at CARBIOS.

“This new step shows the strong potential of CARBIOS’ enzymatic technology and provides a breakthrough solution to help solve society’s growing waste problem.” 

Previously, CARBIOS demonstrated that its proprietary biorecycling technology, based on the use of bioengineered enzymes, had the ability to turn PET plastic waste back into its original components at a rate of 97 per cent in only 16 hours.

It had also demonstrated that virgin PET can be made with 100 per cent rPTA via its proprietary biorecycling process, which uses all kinds of post-consumer PET plastic bottles (clear, colored, opaque, complex). By demonstrating that 100 per cent rPTA can be used to produce
PET-bottles that match brand and customer requirements, this technology proves to be a potential game-changer in the transition towards a circular economy that will benefit the environment and future generations.  

PET is the most common polyester on the market. It is used to produce plastic packaging, textile fibers, and nearly 500 billion units of plastic bottles each year. It is a market expected to grow 4.8 per cent annually, from 2017 to 2025.

By decoupling the production of new plastic bottles from petrochemical feedstock and making waste collection economically more viable, CARBIOS’s technology offers a sustainable and efficient solution to change the way we produce some of the most commonly used plastic products and meet the needs of brand-owners and consumers.  

“The plastics industry faces fundamental challenges related to sustainability,” said Jean-Claude Lumaret, CEO of CARBIOS.

“Our technology, based on a circular model, reuses resources rather than consuming them. This new milestone takes us one step closer to bringing our technology to the market. With the construction of our demonstration plant to start later this year, we’re aiming to engage the whole plastics industry in a transition towards a circular economy and take a leadership role as a global license provider for the biorecycling of PET plastics and fibers.”