Closed plastics recycling system becomes reality | 2021-06-24

CLERMONT-FERRAND, FRANCE – A consortium of consumer goods manufacturers has unveiled “the first food-grade PET plastic bottles made entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic”. The consortium consists of Nestle SA, PepsiCo, Inc., Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and L’Oreal and works with Carbios, a biotech company.

“As a world first, we have produced clear food-grade bottles from enzymatically recycled colored and complex plastic with identical properties to pure PET and, in partnership with the consortium, demonstrated the viability of the technology with the world’s leading brands,” said Jean Claude Lumaret, CEO of Carbios. “This is a truly transformative innovation that could finally complete the cycle of the global PET plastic supply so it never becomes waste.”

Enzymatic recycling overcomes the problem of degradation in traditional recycling and can be used for any type of PET plastic. As Carbios’ recycling process works under mild conditions, it also reduces the CO2 footprint of PET waste treatment by saving 30% of CO2 emissions compared to a conventional waste mix of incineration and landfill, whereby the substitution of PET New goods are taken into account. said the company.

Nestle has made prototypes of Perrier bottles from colored recycled PET materials through its Nestle Waters business unit in Vittel, France. The company said the bottles were tested for quality, performance, and adjusted for the pressure of carbonated water.

“It is very exciting to see that the quality of the prototype bottles made from 100% colored recycled PET materials is virtually identical to that of clear virgin PET,” said Jean-Francois Briois, director of packaging materials science for environmental sustainability at Nestle Waters Global Research and ” When we reach industrial scale, this enzymatic recycling technology will enable us to produce high quality rPET bottles and help Nestlé reduce the use of virgin plastics. “

Carbios plans to break ground for a pilot manufacturing facility in September and will scale up to a larger facility with a capacity of 40,000 tons, which will be completed in 2025. Carbios also plans to license its technology to PET manufacturers.

“We strive to reduce the amount of virgin plastic we use, and with Carbios’ groundbreaking enzymatic recycling technology, we can help preserve valuable material in the circular economy, reduce waste and take another step towards a truly closed cycle system” said Ron Khan, global vice president of Packaging, Beverages for PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, NY.

The Carbios consortium is not the only group working on greener packaging solutions. Last February, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, announced a limited trial of a prototype paper bottle in Hungary. The new bottle consists of a paper sleeve with a recyclable plastic liner and cap. The technology is designed to make 100% recyclable bottles from sustainably sourced wood with a bio-based material barrier that resists liquids, CO2 and oxygen and is suitable for beverages, beauty products and other liquid goods.

“Our vision is to develop a paper bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper,” says Stijn Franssen, innovation manager for research and development for packaging at Coca-Cola Co. “A paper bottle opens up a whole new world of packaging possibilities, and we are convinced that paper packaging will play a role in the future.

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