This enzyme recycles plastic bottles in a few hours

A mutation of an enzyme allows the fast recycling of plastic bottles, with high quality standards.

91% of the plastic waste in the world is not recycled. One part ends up fattening landfills or splashing streets and fields, another ends up in the oceans. With the exception of Norway, which recycles 97% of its plastic bottles, most countries poorly solve this problem. Obviously, rapid recycling processes would make things easier.

This is what the Carbios company has sought. And he found it thanks to an enzyme discovered eight years ago. With some modifications, this enzyme achieves rapid recycling of plastic bottles. In just a few hours it is possible to have the basic compounds that make up these containers.

The method has the advantage of its speed, but also that the plastic it processes keeps a high quality. In research published in the journal Nature, the company has noted that the discovery dates back to a pile of compost leaves. There was the enzyme that has been selected as the most suitable for reducing plastic bottles.

It was an enzyme that had been completely forgotten, but when examined – among 100,000 other candidate microorganisms that have been studied – scientists were amazed at its properties. With a mutation, the enzyme has been able to deliver stunning results. The Carbios team has successfully degraded a ton of plastic bottles to 90%.

Reciclaje del plástico

High quality plastic

Currently there are methods to recover PET plastic from bottles. The downside is that the quality of this plastic is low, so it is only used in clothes or carpets. In addition, it is sold very expensive, as there is a shortage of supply. This occurs because there are no quick recycling systems, which slows down the process, and there are no cheap formulas either.

The Carbios method aims to improve the situation. From the company they point out that the cost of the enzyme is only 4% of the cost of virgin plastic, which comes from oil. Its recycled material, in addition, would serve for new packaging. In fact, the company has agreements with Pepsi and L’Oreal to accelerate the development of its technology.

The use of plastic has been one of the workhorses of sustainability in recent years. Its use as a construction element has even been explored. Although one of the most promising formulas for reuse is its use as a 3D printing material.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply