Enzyme treatment for bioplastic recycling
This technology aims to improve the hydrolysis of bioplastics though the use of microbial enzymes that efficiently hydrolyse polyesters in bioplastic materials. In terms of waste management, enzyme-based systems could serve as a recycling approach to obtain single monomers whilst improving composting. These patented engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains produce enzymes with high efficiency in hydrolysing polyesters such as those in starch-based bioplastics. The use of enzymes in the degradation process has the advantage of requiring moderate process parameters and delivering valuable monomers at the end of the hydrolysis reaction. This would allow for cradle-to-cradle recycling of bioplastics that could limit waste in polymer production and bioplastic manufacturing facilities
In contrast to cellulosic sugar cane-based materials, starch-based bioplastics and polylactic acid (PLA) items can remain undegraded after even prolonged anaerobic digestion and/or composting treatment, with huge technological and economic issues for treatment plant owners. The use of enzymes for the hydrolysis of bioplastics can therefore be a versatile tool in organic waste management facilities, for the selective removal of bioplastics from recycling streams and/or as a product to enable home-composting of bioplastics. Development of enzyme mixtures based on the patented technology for specific bio-based polymers is ongoing. Current TRL is 3.
- Bioplastic Polymer Industry;
- Cradle-to-cradle (C2C) recycling;
- Recycling and waste management facilities;
- Organic waste treatment facilities and home composting.
- Saves energy – Enzymatic recycling and hydrolysis is a mild temperature process;
- Monomer recovery for re-polymerisation;
- Improvement of bioplastic degradation in industrial or domestic composting and anaerobic digestion.