A consortium of Carbios, L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe has announced the successful production of the world’s first food-grade plastic bottles produced entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic.
“In a world first, we have created food-grade clear bottles from enzymatically recycled colored and complex plastic with identical properties to virgin PET, and in partnership with the Consortium, we have proved the viability of the technology with the world’s leading brands,” said Carbios’ CEO Jean Claude Lumaret.
“This is a truly transformational innovation that could finally fully close the loop on PET plastic supply globally, so that it never becomes waste.”
Each Consortium company has successfully manufactured sample bottles – based on Carbios’ enzymatic PET recycling technology – for some of their leading products including Biotherm, Perrier, Pepsi Max, and Orangina.
According to the brands they will work to scale this innovation to help meet the global demand for sustainable packaging solutions. In September 2021, Carbios will break ground on a demonstration plant, before launching a 40,000 tons capacity industrial facility, by 2025.
“It is very exciting to see that the quality of the prototype bottles made from colored recycled PET materials is virtually identical to clear virgin PET.”
Today’s announcement is the culmination of nearly 10 years’ research and development by Carbios to create a new process and supercharge an enzyme naturally occurring in compost heaps that normally breaks down leaf membranes of dead plants. By adapting this enzyme, Carbios has fine-tuned the technology and optimized this enzyme to break down any kind of PET plastic (regardless of color or complexity) into its building blocks, which can then be turned back into like-new, virgin-quality plastic.
“PepsiCo is committed to building a circular economy to achieve our vision that packaging never becomes waste,” said Ron Khan, Global VP of Packaging, Beverages, PepsiCo.
“We are dedicated to reducing the virgin plastic we use and with the breakthrough Carbios enzymatic recycling technology, we can help keep valuable material in the circular economy, reduce waste and take another step toward a truly closed loop system.”
Roberto Vanin, Chief R&D Officer, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, added: “The global issue of plastic waste requires transformational thinking, creative partnerships and innovative brands coming together to seek out new solutions. Continued investment in new ways of tackling waste and creating true circularity such as this ground-breaking technology from Carbios will be key to Suntory Beverage & Food Europe achieving its 100% sustainable plastic ambition.”