Plastics are durable and lightweight, making them easy to mould for a multitude of purposes. As a result, plastics production has increased significantly over the last 50 years. Of course, plastics also cause environmental problems but a consortium led by a French company believes they have a way to make the process of recycling plastic and textile polymers easier.
Most plastic is made for disposable items of packaging or for short-lived products that are tossed out in less than one year. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a form of polyester that is moulded into plastics and packaging. Recycling such plastics isn’t an easy process. Carbios, a bio-industrial solutions company located in Saint-Beauzire, a three hour drive south of Paris, recently announced that they have partnered with 4 large organizations, including L’Oréal to develop enzyme enhanced recycling technology that will allow Carbios to recycle much broader PET plastics and polyester fibres than other recycling technologies.
In a news release, Carbios said the partnership would involve tracking and collaboration of technical milestones and support an efficient supply of 100 percent recycled PET plastics for global use.
The recycling process is said to break down PET plastic into original building blocks, which can then be used to make good quality PET plastic. The technology requires limited heat and no pressure or solvents. It has the potential to recycle PET plastic repeatedly. Carbios recently used its enzymatic technology to manufacture PET bottles from 100 percent-recycled plastics and polyester fibers.