PET structure depolymerase and recycle plastic with an enzyme

Bottles and Textile recycling solution

Researchers accomplishing for recycling solution company Carbios have generated a mutant bacterial enzyme that can depolymerase the PET plastic and recycles in only a couple of hours.

The novel enzyme, which can biologically depolymerize all PET (polyethylene terephthalate) structured plastic waste. It resulted in extremely efficient recycling into new bottles. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most popular thermoplastic polymer and utilized to make containers, jars, polyester clothing fibers, bottles, and various thermoformed packaging(such as blisters) and components.

This enzyme can destructure Polyethylene terephthalate plastic into their chemical composites, which can further be reused to create a brand new shape.

Traditional recycled plastic that goes into a “thermomechanical” method isn’t high sufficient quality and is often used for other products such as clothing and mattings.

Carbios recycling process, the first of its kind, launches a real transformation to a circular economy and can better counter plastic pollution from harming our oceans and planet. This creative step also paves the way for recycling PET fibers, an extra major challenge in ensuring a clean and preserved environment for future generations.

Carbios jointly with significant industry leaders, including Pepsi and L’Oreal, to help promote the technology. A scientific paper describing the discovery was declared in the prestigious journal Nature today.

Forgotten Compost

The PET hydrolase enzyme can break down 90 percent of PET polymers within just ten hours. The innovative enzyme was first spotted in a heap of composted leaves back in 2012.

“It had been completely forgotten, but it turned out to be the best,” Alain Marty at the Université de Toulouse, France, and the chief science officer at Carbios, told The Guardian.


The new enzyme was also remarkably cost-effective to produce. In fact, according to the scientist, making new plastic from oil would have cost 25 times as much.

“It’s a genuine breakthrough in the recycling and manufacturing of PET,” said Saleh Jabarin, professor at The University of Toledo, Ohio, and a member of Carbios’ Scientific Committee, in a statement.

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