Leading consumer brands L’Oréal, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe announced today the production of the first food-grade PET plastic bottles to be made entirely from a new endless recycling-focused technology. The technology was developed by biotech solutions company Carbios.

Carbios CEO Jean Claude Lumaret, said: 

“In a world first, we have created food-grade clear bottles from enzymatically recycled colored and complex plastic with identical properties to virgin PET, and in partnership with the Consortium, we have proved the viability of the technology with the world’s leading brands. This is a truly transformational innovation that could finally fully close the loop on PET plastic supply globally so that it never becomes waste.”

Carbios’ solution utilizes enzymes from naturally occurring microorganisms to break down PET plastic into componential parts, regardless of color and complexity, and then converting it into new, virgin-grade plastic, making it infinitely recyclable. The new technology allows the recycling of more types of PET plastic that would otherwise go to waste or be incinerated. It can also be developed at an industrial scale, increasing the amount of PET plastic that can be recycled. 

The new prototype bottles were produced for some of the companies’ leading brands including Biotherm, Perrier, Pepsi Max, and Orangina.

Ron Khan, Global VP of Packaging, Beverages, PepsiCo said:

“PepsiCo is committed to building a circular economy to achieve our vision that packaging never becomes waste. We are dedicated to reducing the virgin plastic we use and with the breakthrough Carbios enzymatic recycling technology, we can help keep valuable material in the circular economy, reduce waste and take another step toward a truly closed-loop system.”

The new technology aligns with the sustainable packaging goals at several of the companies, including targets at Nestlé to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, and at L’Oréal to move to recycled or bio-based sources for 100% of the plastics used in product packaging by 2030.

Jacques Playe, Packaging and Development Director, L’Oréal, said:

 “We have been working with Carbios since 2017 to develop this first bottle made from PET derived from enzymatic recycling technology, an alternative to mechanical recycling. We are pleased to announce today the feasibility of these bottles in a pilot phase and are delighted to be in a position to create the packaging of the future with our partners. This is a promising innovation for the years to come that demonstrates our commitment to bring to market more environmentally friendly packaging and which is part of a circularity initiative begun more than 15 years ago”.

Jean-Francois Briois, Head of Packaging Material Science and Environmental Sustainability Nestlé Waters global R&D, added:

“It is very exciting to see that the quality of the prototype bottles made from 100% colored recycled PET materials is virtually identical to clear virgin PET. Thanks to this partnership with Carbios, we are able to achieve the great challenge of combining quality, iconic design and sustainability. When we reach industrial scale, this enzymatic recycling technology will enable us to produce high-quality rPET bottles and help Nestlé in its journey to reduce the use of virgin plastics.”