French Carbios have now managed to adapt their enzymatic bioplastics manufacturing process to make Green PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from the petrochemical PET – one of the most common plastics.
Whilst various green initiatives push for better regulation of recycling (a prime example being in Berlin!), in reality only around 10% of plastic collected is actually recycled. This is a limitation of recycling technology, whereby the requirement for these bottles to be cleaned and sorted means an overall inefficiency. As a result, petrochemical-based PETs remain the more popular option to current bioplastic alternatives.
Carbios, from the Auvergne region (France), is a green-chemistry company which exploits enzymes to promote easier biodegradation of the bioplastics, making them a viable and greener alternative to the cheaper petrochemical (PET) plastic industry.
Founded in 2011, Carbios has been managed by the Holding Incubatrice Chimie Verte (and Truffle Capital) fund since its inception, though other partners include Deinove and Limagrain to name a few. Carbios was also named the ‘Young Innovative Company‘ by Bpifrance (former OSEO), and we wrote about Carbios in September, when they announced they were ahead of schedule with their new Bioplastics plant in France.
A competitor includes Bio-on, from Bologna (Italy), which has also opened a plant in France to reduce beet-plant waste into bioplastics. Their Italian’s Minverv PHAs are hugely popular in the press, seeing as their ‘Potato Plastics’ is claimed to be 100% biodegradable in water…remarkable.
Nonetheless, applying Carbios’ bio recycling process would allow for treatment of 100% of PET waste, equal to an additional volume of 1.4 million tons in Europe which are presently left in landfills or incinerated instead of being recycled.
The Thanaplast Project is one of the first projects of R&D efforts in the field of plastics. This 5-year project aims at developing new industrial processes that have the potential to improve the production and recycling of biopolymers.
Led by Carbios, the project also includes Deinove, the CNRS, LISBP / INSA of Toulouse, the University of Poitiers and two industry majors: Barbier group, (one of Europe’s leaders in plastic film), and the seed company Limagrain, (through Ulice, its subsidiary specialized in the research and development of products derived from cereals). Of a total of €22 million, Thanaplast is supported by OSEO up to €9.6 million.
This is a huge deal for the French biotech, who are turning an increasing number of heads (in the Industry and Public) with each new milestone in the Green Plastic Revolution.