“Biocatalytic degradation routes to break down PET”: CETEC at the 4th API International Congress

Plastic packaging is a real problem when it comes to managing waste. Polyethylene terephthalate is precisely one of the main most polluting plastic polymers commonly used in food and beverage containers. The European project upPE-T, coordinated by CETEC, aims to convert this waste into a valuable resource to make biodegradable bioplastics, and this is how we explained it at the past 4th International Congress Advances in the Packaging Industry.

4th International Congress Advances in the Packaging Industry: “Sustainability: Products and Processes”

The API international congress is one of the most important meetings worldwide within the packaging sector. In it, sustainability and the circular economy always stand out as protagonists of the most anticipated technological advances by the industry. At CETEC we coordinate the upPE-T project, an innovative solution to recycle PE and PET post-consumer packaging waste into a range of biodegradable and recyclable bioplastics (PHBV).

Thanks to the experience developed during the execution of the project, we were able to make the presentation “Upcycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) wastes to generate biodegradable bioplastics for food and drink packaging”. In it, we show the progress made and the future that the project points to, as well as its value within sustainability in the plastics sector.

PHVB: bioplastics and the future of the sector

Without a doubt, bioplastics are on the lips of all professionals in this industry. The enormous impact of plastics, as well as the existing technical complexity in the degradation of pre-treated PET, drive interest in new materials and the technologies to manufacture them. The bioplastic polyhydroxy butyrate-valerate, or PHBV, is among the most promising. This biodegradable polyester belongs to the family of polyhydroxy alkanoates, produced by bacterial action.

However, the problem of existing plastics is still present. Through the research carried out within the framework of the upPE-T project, however, CETEC is managing, through enzymatic degradation of pretreated PET, to convert this polymer into a source to produce PHBV.

With upPE-T we are working on the upcycling of PET waste, obtaining high-value products with great applicability in different sectors, thus contributing to a sustainable circular economy of post-consumer plastics, contributing our effort and knowledge in the growth and development of bioplastics.

This work is part of the upPE-T project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 953214.

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