Carbios has joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s network for businesses, policymakers, educational institutions and charities dedicated to pioneering a circular economy.
The Paris-based green chemistry company develops innovative, bio-based processes to redefine the life cycle of plastics and textiles, supporting the Foundation’s commitment to promoting recycling, reuse and sustainable end-of-life solutions for products. Carbios has created multi-industry applications for addressing waste from the fashion sector, including apparel, packaging and other plastics. By joining the Foundation’s network, Carbios aims to connect with other companies committed to advancing circularity.
“Becoming a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network is an important step for Carbios’ development, and an obvious one given our shared commitment to a circular economy,” Carbios CEO Emmanuel Ladent said. “With access to ideas, thought leaders and new collaborators, we’re excited to leverage the Foundation’s network of experts to support market access for our innovative solutions for reducing plastic pollution.”
The company founded a consortium to address the issue of packaging waste in 2017, initially working with L’Oréal and expanding in 2019 to include Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. Last year, Carbios founded a consortium aimed at developing recycling and circularity-focused solutions with companies including On Running, Patagonia, Puma and Salomon, with PVH Corp. joining in January. The consortium plans to develop take-back solutions for worn polyester clothing, including sorting and dismantling technologies, and to gather data on fiber-to-fiber recycling and circularity models.
Carbios’ innovative, enzyme-based technology deconstructs PET from plastic trays, bottles and textiles made from polymers into its most basic components, selectively extracting the polyester or polymer. These compounds can be reused to create new plastics and fibers that possess “equivalent quality” to virgin versions. According to Carbios, the technology is able to recover all polyester present in a garment—unlike traditional textile recycling technologies. Mechanical processes can’t isolate the polymer content in textiles made with mixed-material yarns.
Carbios opened the doors to its demonstration plant in Clermont-Ferrand, France in 2021, and took the next step toward industrializing its plastic re-engineering process by constructing another unit in France with Thailand’s Indorama Ventures, which develops petrochemicals, PET resins and yarns, among other products, early last year. The partners aim to open the plant in 2025, scaling up to a yearly output of 50,000 tons of bio-recycled PET.
“With this first medium-sized plant, we want to become the world reference for the Circular Economy of plastics and textiles,” Ladent said at the time, noting that the facility will help Carbios “pave the way towards international commercial and industrial deployment.”
Carbios has also developed an enzymatic biodegradation technology for PLA-based (a bio-sourced polymer) single-use plastics, which it believes can create a new generation of plastics that are wholly compostable at home.
“Carbios is a highly respected organization with the ability to deliver impact and a high level of organizational buy-in,” said Katie Attrill, network manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We welcome Carbios as a Network Member and look forward to supporting the company on its circular economy journey.”