New Enzyme Discovered to Recycle PET Plastic!

70% of plastic packaging is never recycled.

Fortunately, CARBIOS, a French company has reported through a study published in ‘Nature‘ that they have “engineered an enzyme that can convert 90% of that same plastic back to its pristine starting materials.”

” CARBIOS’ recycling bioprocesses for plastics provide the means to:

  1. Recycle plastics to infinity by returning to the original monomers which can be used in all applications in which the original material was used;
  2. Recover in the recycled materials the same level of performance displayed by the original materials.

Among plastic waste, CARBIOS is particularly interested in polyesters (PET, PLA, etc.) and polyamides.  These polymers have chains of monomers that are easily identifiable by the enzymes and are thus easier to de-polymerize. ” –

These efforts are interesting to us at MakerSpace, as we have students working on ongoing projects like the Plastic Shredder, which are funded by the NYU Green Grant which is awarded by the Office of Sustainability to student, faculty, and staff projects that boost the university’s environmental performance, demonstrate best practices and cleanest technologies, and foster environmental literacy. In 2019, the Design Lab @ NYU MakerSpace was awarded $13,572 to develop a plastic shredder and recycling system for use with the facility’s 3D printers.

“It is the responsibility of ethical designers and engineers to consider waste and issues of sustainability within each prototyping step,” says MakerSpace Founding Director Victoria Bill. “And while sustainability and additive manufacturing are areas of research excellence at Tandon, this very timely project will encourage all MakerSpace users to consider their design process and begin to take responsibility for the impact of their work in the world.”