Novel Enzymes Breaks Down PET Plastic In Hours

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 | 1640 Views

Scientists from French Industrial Chemistry firm, Carbios have recently discovered and developed an enzyme which could efficiently break down plastics made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in hours.

PET plastics are the material of choice for food and beverage packaging—the PET packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of five percent over 2020 to 2025 from USD 49.8 billion in 2019 to USD 66.42 billion in 2025, according to Mordor Intelligence. However, PET requires large amount of fossil fuels to produce and breaking down of the material is difficult—producing low quality plastic for non-food related products like clothing.

The research team has optimised the PET hydrolase enzyme to biologically depolymerise 90 percent of PET polymers in ten hours which could then be used to produce new, high quality, food-grade plastic bottles.

The company has partnered with major companies including Pepsi, Nestlé and L’Oréal to further scale and advance the technology development, with the goal of industrial-scale recycling in the next five years. This development open doors to true circular recycling of PET which would reduce reliance on oil and cut carbon emissions.


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