Chemical plastics recycling supported by global brands

PepsiCo, Nestlé Waters and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe have joined a consortium founded by green chemistry company, Carbios, and L’Oreal to support the development of enzymatic technology for the recycling of plastics.

Carbios has designed a sustainable technology that uses highly specific enzymes that can recycle much broader PET plastics and polyester fibres feedstock than other recycling technologies. According to the company, the process creates recycled PET, equivalent to virgin PET, that can be used for making bottles and other varieties of packaging.

L’Oreal and Carbios created the consortium in October 2017 with the aim of bringing the recycling technology developed by Carbios to market on an industrial scale. Under the terms of a four year agreement, PepsiCo, Nestlé Waters and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe plan to use the technology as part of their sustainability commitments and in support of a move towards a circular economy for plastics.

The process developed by Carbios breaks down PET plastics waste into its original building blocks, which can be used to produce high-quality PET plastic. This patented technology offers the potential to recycle PET plastics repeatedly – boosting the availability of 100 per cent recycled PET content for use in new products.

According to Carbios, this biological approach can handle all forms of PET plastics (clear, coloured, opaque and multilayer) and polyester fibres. The process requires limited heat and no pressure or solvents, which improves its environmental impact.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe into the consortium we have created with L’Oréal,” said Jean-Claude Lumaret, chief executive officer of Carbios. “Their contribution will accelerate our common ambition and help to industrialize our recycling technology, which brings a breakthrough solution in the treatment of plastics waste.”

Simon Lowden, president of global foods at PepsiCo added: “PepsiCo is striving for a world where plastics need never become waste. Achieving that requires collaborative efforts to drive transformative change across the packaging lifecycle. The consortium offers us the opportunity to accelerate the development of this promising enzymatic recycling technology which, alongside mechanical and chemical recycling, can move us closer to a circular economy for plastics.”