The company specialising in enzymatic solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers, Carbios has announced the launch of the first bottles composing 100% recycled Purified Terephthalic Acid (rPTA) from textile waste that contains a high PET content. The development concludes the capacity of Carbios’ technology to recycle textile waste and opens doors to an additional waste stream of up to 42 million tons per year.
Professor Alain Marty, the Chief Scientific Officer of Carbios, stated that they were very proud that they successfully transformed polyester textile waste into clear bottles, that has identical properties as those made from virgin PET. Alain Marty added that the major innovation allows them to expand their sources of supply which, until now, consisted primarily of PET plastic waste.
There were no other mechanical recycling technologies that enabled clothing waste to be recycled efficiently. The few textiles that could be reused were incorporated into lower-quality applications such as padding, insulators or rags. This process is called downcycling.
The new technology developed by Carbios enables polyester textile fibres to be “upcycled” in a high-quality grade of PET for the production of clear bottles.
Professor Marty, explained that the results demonstrated the extent of their technology’s possibilities. He explained that now they could produce transparent bottles from polyester textile waste or from post-consumer coloured bottles. The technology was flexible in both ways so it was possible to make a t-shirt from bottles or disposable food trays. The company has successfully produced PET fibres for textile applications with 100% rPTA, from enzymatically recycled PET plastic waste.
The major achievements arrived as a part of the CE-PET (Circular Economy PET) research project, of which Carbios is the lead alongside its partner TWB (Toulouse White Biotechnology). The project was financed by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency).
Carbios’ process ensures a low-value waste to be recovered and to have a new life in different applications. The facilities infinite recycling of PET-based plastics and textiles ensures a truly circular system. The new enzymatic waste recycling technology is in the framework of European objectives of creating a circular economy and strengthening environmental protection.
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