Carbios’ enzymatic recycling process uses an enzyme capable of depolymerizing the PET contained in various plastics or textiles (bottles, trays, polyester clothing, etc.). This innovation allows infinite recycling of all types of PET waste. It also allows the production of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable PET products, with the same quality as if they were produced with virgin PET.
The application of PET enzymatic recycling in car tires is a world first.
Conventional thermomechanical recycling processes for complex plastics do not achieve the PET high-performance grade required for pneumatic applications. However, the monomers resulting from Carbios’ process, which used colored and opaque plastic waste such as bottles, once repolymerized in PET, made it possible to obtain a high tenacity fibre meeting Michelin’s tire requirements.
The technical fibre obtained is of the same quality as the one from virgin PET, processed with the same prototype installations. This high tenacity polyester is particularly suitable for tires, due to its breakage resistance, toughness, and thermal stability.
Carbios’ enzymatic recycling process therefore enables Michelin to get one step closer to its sustainable ambitions, and contributes to the entry of tires into a true circular economy. Michelin is committed to achieving 40% sustainable materials (of renewable or recycled origin) by 2030 and 100% by 2050. This should ultimately represents nearly 3 billion plastic bottles per year that could be recycled into technical fibres for use in the company’s tires.