Scientists discover enzyme, breaks down 90% of PET polymers in hours21 Apr 2020
PET plastic can now be broken down into food-grade materials within 10 hours due to a discovery by scientists at industrial chemical firm Carbios. This discovery will transition into industrial-scale trials in 2021 with the help of Carbios’ partnerships with PepsiCo, Nestlé and Suntory.
Although the PET hydrolase enzyme can break down plastics into their individual chemical components, this result is only available for 90% of PET polymers. Nevertheless, this is a significant upswing from prior depolymerizing technologies. FoodBev Media reported that current enzymatic solutions only degrade 1% of PET plastics after several weeks.
The discovery of this enzyme was originally published in the scientific journal Nature, which said, “This highly efficient, optimized enzyme outperforms all PET hydrolases reported so far.”
This new enzyme may present a breakthrough for manufacturers within the food and beverage space if Carbios is successful in scaling up production to a commercial level. Previously, PET plastic has presented a conundrum for manufacturers worldwide. While plastic is acknowledged to be bad for the environment – only 12-14% of hundreds of millions of tons of PET packaging is recycled, according to IHS Markit analysis – the packaging material is also favored for its capabilities in maintaining freshness and enduring temperature changes, all while remaining affordable.
By partnering with some of the world’s CPG giants, Carbios signals that there is ample interest from corporations in commercializing this technology. If successful, this new enzyme has the potential to allow companies to reconsider their approaches to packaging sustainability. In recent years, consumers have continually pushed for more sustainable options and companies from Nestlé to Montreal-based Loop Industries have stepped up to offer varying alternatives to plastic.
However, other industries like the North American fresh berry groups and companies like Coca-Cola have indicated their continued preference for plastic. Having a method to reuse 90% of plastic in a closed-loop economy could be a paradigm shift in what consumers and companies consider sustainable.
HN-Novatech launches seaweed heme ingredient in Singapore
28 Sep 2023
Korean food technology company HN-Novatech secures $4 million in funding and has unveiled a proprietary seaweed heme ingredient for healthy plant-based alternatives in Singapore.Read more
Proudly made in China: Tips to tap into the guochao trend with success
19 Sep 2023
Thanks to the guochao trend, Chinese consumers see ‘Made in China’ products as trendy and Western brands are capitalising on this with regional flavours or Chinese-style branding. But guochao has become more nuanced and consumers are increasingly wise ...Read more
Healthy and humane: Noochies launches pet food that is factory farming-free
15 Sep 2023
US pet food brand Noochies uses nutritional yeast to make its meat-free, healthy dog food and freeze-dried snacks for cats and dogs – a humane pet food range that is free from factory farming meat, it says.Read more
Industry first: Mosa Meat becomes first cultivated meat startup to gain B Corp certification
11 Sep 2023
A first for the industry, Dutch cultivated meat company Mosa Meat announced that it has received B Corp certification and will soon apply for regulatory approval across the globe.Read more
Premium dairy launches defy cost-of-living crisis
6 Sep 2023
From Häagen-Dazs’ Cultured Crème yoghurt to Boursin’s black truffle and sea salt cream cheese, some recent premium dairy product launches suggest there is still appetite for gourmet products despite the cost-of-living crisis.Read more
Breakthrough buckwheat brands promote brain health claims
25 Aug 2023
As buckwheat emerges as a superfood ingredient on the plant-based scene, attention is turning to its brain health claims and the research behind buckwheat’s ability to enhance cognitive function.Read more
European Court of Justice to weigh in on French plant-based name ban
23 Aug 2023
France’s Conseil d’Etat has asked the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) to provide clarification on whether the upcoming French law to ban the use of 'meaty' terms for plant-based foods is valid. “This is a pivotal moment, not just for France, but for ...Read more
Unilever reduces plastic in Pot Noodle packaging
21 Aug 2023
Unilever is trialling new packaging for its Pot Noodle brand in the UK that is 90% paper and will reduce the use of virgin plastic, it says.Read more
Familiarity over foodtech: Is this the end of disruptive product development?
14 Aug 2023
Consumers are opting for traditional product purchases over disruptive, novel launches amid growing inflation, according to a Rabobank report.Read more
Well-known brands win over US consumers with unique and nostalgic flavours
7 Aug 2023
Consumers in the US are increasingly being drawn to unique and nostalgic flavours, introduced by leading national brands like Oreo and Jell-O, says Mintel.Read more