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CARBIOS pioneers PET bio-recycling process

France – Green chemistry company CARBIOS has taken ‘a major step forward’ in the development of its enzymatic depolymerisation process for polyesters.

The new recycling method can now be applied to PET, thus enabling the regeneration of monomers while maintaining the same quality and physicochemical properties as their petroleum-based counterparts. CARBIOS describes its innovation as ‘a unique technology paving the way to infinite recycling of PET’, a plastic for which global production reached 21 million tonnes in 2014.

Citing an annual growth rate of roughly 5%, CARBIOS expects PET output to exceed 26 million tonnes by 2020. In Europe, some 1.8 million tonnes (57%) of PET plastics were recycled in 2013. Applying its bio-recycling process would allow for treatment of 100% of this waste – including the 1.4 million tonnes currently landfilled or incinerated, says the company.

Researchers are now looking to adapt the new technology to the recycling of other plastic polymers, according to CARBIOS ceo Jean-Claude Lumaret. ‘We are also conducting advanced discussions with many major players in the industry in order to quickly bring our innovation to an industrial level,’ he adds.

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