Carbios produces first clear plastic bottles from textile waste

This is a major innovation for the valorisation of 42 million tons of polyesters textiles produced annually: the Auvergne green chemistry company Carbios announced «a world first» in the recycling of plastic with the development of a process to produce bottles containing 100% recycled Purified Terephthalic Acid (rPTA) from textile waste that contains a high PET content.

Currently, mechanical recycling technologies do not enable clothing waste to be recycled efficiently. The few textiles that can be reused, are incorporated into lower quality applications such as padding, insulators or rags. This process is called “downcycling”.

In contrast, the breakthrough developed by Carbios enables polyester textile fibers to be “upcycled” in a high quality grade of PET suitable for the production of clear bottles.

The transparent bottles thus produced have identical properties as those made from virgin PET. This major innovation allows to expand the sources of supply which, until now, consisted primarily of PET plastic waste.

This result demonstrates the extent of Carbios technology’s possibilities that allows the production of transparent bottles from polyester textile waste or from post-consumer colored bottles. This works both ways and and it is also possible to make a t-shirt from bottles or disposable food trays. Indeed, Carbios has succeeded in producing PET fibers for textile applications with 100% rPTA, from enzymatically recycled PET plastic waste.

These major outcomes were achieved as part of the CE-PET (Circular Economy PET) research project, of which Carbios is the lead alongside its partner TWB (Toulouse White Biotechnology). This project was financed by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency).

Carbios’ process enables low-value waste to be recovered and to have a new life in more challenging applications – in short, it facilitates infinite recycling of PET-based plastics and textiles. This innovative enzymatic waste recycling technology is fully in line with European objectives of creating a circular economy and strengthening environmental protection.


Biopôle Clermont-Limagne
Contact: Benjamin Audebert |
Phone:  +33 (0) 473 865 176