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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Beverage Giants, L’Oréal, Tupperware Continue Paving Way for Circular Plastics Economy

Expanded collaborations aimed at scaling the use of the world’s first enzymatic plastic-recycling technology and introducing recycled polymers into durable storage ware.

Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, Suntory join consortium to scale world-first plastics-recycling tech

Beauty giant L’Oréal and Carbios — a company pioneering bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers — have announced a major partnership with Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe to scale use of the world’s first enzymatic plastic-recycling technology.

Carbios’ unique technology uses highly specific enzymes that can recycle much broader PET plastics and polyester fiber feedstocks than other recycling technologies. The process creates recycled PET, equivalent to virgin PET, that can be used for applications including bottles and other forms of packaging.

In 2017, Carbios and L’Oréal founded a Consortium to bring Carbios’ enhanced recycling technology to market on an industrial scale. Committed to supporting sustainable development with innovative solutions, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Europe are joining the Consortium to help drive a circular plastics economy.

Under the terms of the four-year agreement, the Consortium partners’ ambition is to bring Carbios’ PET-enhanced recycling technology to market and increase the availability of high-quality, recycled plastics to fulfill their sustainability commitments. The collaboration includes technical milestones and support for the efficient supply of consumer-grade, 100 percent recycled PET plastics for global markets.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe into the Consortium we have created with L’Oréal,” said Carbios CEO Jean-Claude Lumaret. “Their contribution will accelerate our common ambition and help to industrialize our recycling technology, which brings a breakthrough solution in the treatment of plastic waste.”

Carbios’ process breaks down PET plastic waste into its original building blocks, which can be used to produce virgin-quality PET. The patented technology offers the potential to recycle PET plastics repeatedly and pave the way for 100 percent recycled PET content in new products. In fact, Carbios recently achieved a world first — using its enzymatic technology to create PET bottles from 100 percent recycled plastics. This biological approach can handle all forms of PET plastics (clear, colored, opaque and multilayer) and polyester fibers. The process requires limited heat and no pressure or solvents, which reduces its environmental impact, and also provides a competitive solution to increase global plastic-recycling rates. By creating a circular economy from used plastics and fibers, Carbios’ enhanced recycling technology brings forward a sustainable and responsible solution.

As Philippe Thuvien, Packaging & Development VP at L’Oréal, asserted: “We are convinced that Carbios’ technology is a new step forward, in addition to the mechanical and chemical recycling that contribute to reaching our 2025 goals: 50 percent of our products’ plastic components are recycled or bio-sourced. We know that by working together with our partners, we will succeed in creating a more sustainable world based on circular economy principles.”

“PepsiCo is striving for a world where plastics need never become waste,” says Simon Lowden, President of Global Foods at PepsiCo., which just last week unveiled its own mobile-enabled, plastic-free hydration platform. “Achieving that requires collaborative efforts to drive transformative change across the packaging lifecycle. The Consortium offers us the opportunity to accelerate the development of this promising enzymatic recycling technology which, alongside mechanical and chemical recycling, can move us closer to a circular economy for plastics.”

Tupperware Brands introduces new circular material made from mixed plastic waste

Image credit: Tupperware

Meanwhile, Tupperware Brands — leading global producer of premium food preparation, storage and serving solutions for the kitchen and home — recently announced a collaboration with SABIC, a petrochemical leader and longtime Tupperware supplier, for the introduction of certified circular polymers into its product offerings.

For over 70 years, Tupperware Brands has provided consumers with durable solutions to reduce food waste with reusable, innovative, safe and environmentally responsible products that help consumers prepare, cook and store food — these new recycled polymers reflect Tupperware's commitment to reducing plastic waste, as well. Starting in summer 2019, Tupperware will introduce the circular polymers in new products that aid in the reduction of single-use plastic products — including a reusable straw and an on-the-go coffee cup.

"Tupperware Brands is committed to meeting the needs of today's consumers, who are increasingly asking for solutions that mitigate waste and advance a more circular economy," said Bill Wright, Tupperware Brands' EVP of Product Innovation & Supply Chain. “The introduction of this new material, and the products in which they will be used, reflect our continued dedication to further reduce our environmental footprint at all levels of the product lifecycle — from design, production and distribution to products' use and reusability — and also reflects our heritage of innovation and sustainable design.”

SABIC says its circular polymer is made from mixed plastic waste; broken down to its original, raw state and turned back into high-quality plastic.

"We are pleased to extend our collaboration with Tupperware Brands as we are unified in our goal to deliver high-quality solutions made from advanced, recycled materials that address consumer needs and safety standards," said Sergi Monros, VP of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions at SABIC. "We continue to innovate with materials, and look to create more sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions to support a circular economy."