Carbios to Transform Textile Waste in Green PET using Enzymes

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Carbios, a French biotechnology company developed eco-friendly method for depolymerizing textile waste fibers made of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics into monomers

Carbios is French Biotechnology Company involved in biodegradation, biorecycling, and bioproduction of waste products. The company has developed new technology, which uses enzymes to create biodegradable plastics and recycle existing plastics into original compounds for reuse. PET are broken down to main constituents, such as PTA (terephthalic acid) and MEG (monoethylene glycol) to make plastic recyclable.

PET is the commonly used plastic, as it has variety of applications in manufacturing of plastic bottles, packaging, and polyester. Around 43 million tons of PET is produced for the textile market, compared to 15 million tons for the production of plastic bottles annually. Most of the textile waste is sent to landfills or incineration for disposal, which propels demand for development of innovative technologies for effective disposal and recycling. Furthermore, Carbios is focused on plastic bottles, packaging and film and seeking out partnerships to achieve these goals. “In the future, we expect to have enzymes for each type of polymer. So we could have an iterative process to recycle any type of plastic, without the need for sorting, and we can recover the monomers that interest us,” said Emmanuel Maille, director of Strategy and Development at Carbios.

In 2017, Carbios collaborated with TechnipFMC to introduce enzyme technology on industrial scale. This technology gained significant traction from other industries to recycle plastic waste. For instance, L’OREAL, signed an agreement with company to found a consortium for industrial-scale recycling of bio-plastics. European biotechnology firms are actively involved in development of sustainable forms of PET. For instance, BASF is developing biodegradable polymers, such as Ecoflex.  Dutch biotech Ioniqa, is developing a technology that uses nano-particles to depolymerize PET.

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