Members of the Consortium – Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, Nestlé Waters, Pepsico, Carbios and L’Oréal – have each successfully manufactured a sample bottle made entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic.
Suntory’s Orangina brand was the first to get the recycled bottle treatment, with brands like Ribena and Lucozade to follow suite.
The announcement followed 10 years’ research and development by Carbios to create a new process to break down plastic using a naturally occurring enzyme often found in compost heaps.
By adapting this enzyme, Carbios has fine-tuned the technology and optimised it to break down any kind of polyethylene terephthalate plastic – regardless of colour or complexity – into its building blocks, which can then be turned back into like-new, virgin-quality plastic.
Carbios’ chief executive Jean Claude Lumaret said: “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.”
Investment in sustainability
The news followed Suntory UK and Ireland’s recent £7.8M investment to make its existing packaging more sustainable too. This included new designs for its Ribena and Lucozade bottles that aid bottle-to-bottle recycling, the switch to 100% recycled plastic for Lucozade Sport by the end of this year and the switch to recyclable paper straws on its Ribena cartons.
Michelle Norman, director Of external Affairs and sustainability, added: “Bottle to bottle recycling is an incredibly sustainable and resource efficient way to manage PET plastics to ensure they don’t end up as waste and today’s announcement will ensure a valuable material like plastic stays in circulation and out of the environment, which is ultimately what we’re striving for.
“I’m excited not just by the potential this holds for our much-loved drinks brands, but the entire food and drink industry.”