Plastics Recycling Update

Process recovered PET into virgin plastic? French firm says it’s possible

French company Carbios has developed an enzyme-based recycling technology, which breaks down PET into monomers that can be used to create new plastic.

Carbios recently announced it successfully employed its “bio-recycling” approach on PET. The company’s patented enzymes are capable of de-polymerizing 100 percent amorphous PET commercial products into the original monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

It announced in 2014 it had de-polymerized 90 percent of PLA using the enzymes.

“Carbios provides a concrete solution to address today’s industry issues by rending PET endlessly recyclable with no loss in value whether it is plastic or fiber material composed of PET,” according to a company press release. “Moreover, the processes developed by Carbios use highly selective enzymes, eliminating the need for a sorting step and offering the prospect of a 100 percent recycling rate and the production of high-performance plastics composed entirely of recycled PET.”

Carbios CEO Jean-Claude Lumaret said the company is talking with “many major players in the industry in order to quickly bring our innovation to an industrial level.”

The chemistry company, founded in 2011, has also applied its enzyme technology to creating biodegradable plastics. At its headquarters in central France, Carbios opened a demonstration plant capable of producing 88 pounds per hour of biodegradable film.

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