Industry News

French start-up company improves plastic recycling system with enzyme

by | Nov 29, 2023

A French start-up company has discovered a scientific approach to improve the process of recycling plastic and ensure that the plastic maintains its quality. This innovative process has been made possible through a new enzyme which can chew up plastic.

For a long time, companies have been looking for a solution to make plastic recycling possible, easier and to find a way to recycle plastic without it losing its quality. Currently the recycling process of plastic is very ineffective in comparison to the recycling process of a material such as glass. When glass is recycled, it can simply make more, but when plastic is recycled, whilst it can be turned into a new object such as a carpet or a jacket, the plastic will eventually end up in landfill, or it is incinerated as the quality of recycled plastic declines the more it is recycled. This results in the need to generate more and more plastic, which consequently leads to the use of more fossil fuels, more carbon emissions and more damage to the environment, through an increase in plastic waste.

In order to combat this issue, a French start-up company has been researching and experimenting and they have now made a groundbreaking discovery, that plastic recycling could become more effective and sustainable through the use of a new enzyme. The company has been cutting up old plastic bottles and shredding clothes made from polyester and through an innovative new system the company have discovered a way of recycling Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic which means the plastic’s quality is not lost.

The next steps are to place the broken-up plastic into a large vat, along with water and a particular enzyme which is able to chew up plastic. After a few hours the plastic is broken down entirely by the water and the enzyme, the additives are removed and the end product is 2 substances which make up 95-97% of the building blocks for new PET plastic. These products can then go into the creation of new materials and they will be much better for the environment as they will be recycled sourced instead of petroleum sourced.

This is an excellent and innovative approach which solves multiple issues, however at the moment it is a very expensive process. Despite the expense, the French company is planning to open a factory dedicated to this process which will be capable of processing 2 billion plastic bottles every year. This will provide excellent benefits for the packaging industry and for the environment as it will significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste and will reduce the amount of carbon emissions being emitted into the atmosphere. This system will be a huge step forwards for the plastic recycling process and will be a large step forwards towards making plastic recycling effective and sustainable, consequently significantly reducing plastic waste.

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