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January 25, 2017 | Recycling of opaque PET

Carbios, a French green chemistry company specialising in enzymatic bioprocesses applied to plastic and textile polymers, offers a technological solution for the recycling of PET. Since recently, milk packaging as bottles made of opaque PET are widely replacing those made of high density PE (HDPE).

This enabled to reduce their weight and to eliminate the aluminium seal on bottle caps, leading to raw material savings and greater performances for industrials. However, these new bottles - white outside and grey inside - are not recyclable by conventional processes. On a practical level, recyclers would have to reject opaque PET bottles to landfill or incineration as their systems are unable to tolerate this new stream and to give it a second life.

Since 2012, Carbios carried out extensive research on the development of an enzymatic recycling process for PET. This work successfully demonstrated the depolymerisation at 100% of PET based commercial products (bottles, packaging, films.) into their original monomers: TPA (terephthalic acid) and MEG (mono ethylene glycol). Today, Carbios’ proprietary innovation offers a technological solution to the recycling of all PET products (transparent, multi-layer, opaque, complex.), including these new PET milk bottles.

Three bottles out of 100 are currently made of opaque PET and this new plastic material should represent 100% of milk bottles within the next 5 to 10 years according to market players.

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