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Carbios breaks ground on 'world's first' PET biorecycling plant
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

29 April 2024

Carbios breaks ground on 'world's first' PET biorecycling plant

Carbios, a biotech company aiming to transform the life cycle of plastics and textiles, has broken ground on the world's first PET biorecycling plant. Situated in Longlaville, in the Grand-Est region of France, the plant signifies the next step towards combatting plastic pollution by offering an industrial-scale solution for enzymatic depolymerisation of PET waste, thereby propelling the transition towards a circular economy for plastics and textiles. Scheduled to operate at full capacity in 2026, the plant will boast a processing capability of 50kt/year of prepared waste, playing a core role in reshaping the future of plastic recycling. PET primarily derives from oil. Carbios' enzymatic biorecycling technology enables PET to be sourced from its own waste, creating new recycling avenues for previously unrecycled materials like multilayered and coloured trays from packaging waste and polyester textile waste. Scientists discover enzyme which breaks down PET plastic ‘in hours’ The new facility positions France as a frontrunner in green innovation, and fosters its reindustrialisation and leadership in creating a sustainable economy. Emmanuel Macron, president of France, said: "At a time when governments are negotiating an international treaty against plastic pollution in Ottowa, the groundbreaking of Carbios’ biorecycling plant is particularly significant. It illustrates France's commitment to the ecological transition, and demonstrates our ability to turn challenges into opportunities for a more sustainable future." He continued: "This plant, a world first, embodies French innovation in responding to complex environmental challenges, offering a sustainable solution for a future where plastic and textile waste will be transformed into valuable resources for a truly circular economy". The project has received staunch support from governmental bodies, with financial and administrative backing aimed at facilitating technological advancements in the textile recycling sector. Furthermore, collaboration with strategic partners both domestically and internationally underscores Carbios' dedication to driving forward its mission of reshaping the plastic recycling landscape. Christophe Béchu, minister for ecological transition and territorial cohesion, enthused: "This inauguration is emblematic of the green industrial revolution that we have been implementing for the past year: French technology that is sustainable, innovative and creates jobs. It is also emblematic of the method I am applying with all industrial sectors: the ecology of the contract." "With the financial and administrative support of the French government, the new Carbios plant in Longlaville will remove a major technological barrier to the development of the textile recycling industry in France." Franck Leroy, president of Grand-Est Region, added: "At Carbios, we have turned a vision into reality with the groundbreaking of the world's first PET biorecycling plant. Our revolutionary enzymatic depolymerisation technology marks the beginning of a new era in plastic recycling, moving away from dependence on oil to a circular economy fuelled by PET waste itself." The plant's strategic location near borders with Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg ensures convenient access to waste supplies, further bolstering its operational efficiency. Moreover, with the creation of 150 direct and indirect jobs in the region, Carbios' promises not only environmental benefits but also economic growth and employment opportunities. As part of France 2030 initiative, Carbios is set to receive grants totalling €54 million from the French State and Grand-Est region, further solidifying its position in the sustainable technology space. Founded in 2011, Carbios has garnered scientific acclaim for its groundbreaking solutions, including enzyme-based processes for PET biorecycling and PLA biodegradation. Emmanuel Ladent, CEO of Carbios, commented: "We can help save the planet thanks to science, passionate teams, private and public funding to meet industrial and commercial stakes, and loyal partners. This groundbreaking ceremony for the Longlaville plant marks the start of our industrial and commercial roll-out to make Carbios a world leader in plastic recycling in the coming years."

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