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This week Carbios, a French biochemistry startup, presented a breakthrough way of dealing with plastic packaging to the Consumer Goods Forum, which brings together some of the world’s largest retailers, service providers, and manufacturers. The hope is that many of the 400 +companies in the group will eventually adopt the technology, which aims to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste, one of the most common plastics in consumer goods, “infinitely recyclable.”
Carbios’ enzymatic PET recycling technology – which promises to break down 97% of plastics within 16 hours – is already scaling up thanks to an agreement it has with L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe to fund its research and development.
The collaboration – and the pitch to the Consumer Goods Forum – represents a sea change in the way corporates work with each other and with startups. It also serves as an example of how traditional companies can work with startups and scale-ups to help solve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and move towards a circular economy.