When Recycled Beats Virgin Plastic

What if recycled plastic was just as valuable as virgin plastic? Soon, it might be.

Recycling critics often site the inferiority of using recycled plastic materials to purchasing virgin stock because of its slightly diminished quality. But on December 2, French chemistry company, CARBIOS, announced something that could refute this argument for good.

According to their press release, CARBIOS has been researching a processes where they use enzymes to depolymerize (or break down) plastic into its original monomers (main ingredients). Using this method, they can then rebuild the plastic from its original monomers to synthesize (or make) a product identical in quality to virgin plastic. In other words, their method would be the equivalent of recycling your plastic directly into virgin plastic. Were this research implemented on the industrial level, recycled plastic scrap markets would be able to compete as an equal to virgin markets.

What’s even more exciting is that this is a low energy consumption process. That would mean substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use across the plastics manufacturing industry, and when applied on an industrial scale to PET plastic markets, it could theoretically prevent the emission of 4.6 million tons of CO2 in Europe alone.

We are excited to see how this project progresses and hope that someday soon we can utilize CARBIOS’ research to better serve our clients’ recycling needs. You can view the original press release here.