L’Oréal increased its share in Carbios through its investment fund BOLD (Business Opportonuties for l’Oréal Development) launched in 2018. Other companies have also increased their share in Carbios: Copernicus AM, Michelin Ventures et Truffle Capital.
L’Oréal and Carbios formed the joint venture in 2017. In the meantime, following companies have expressed their support: Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo et Suntory Beverage & Food Europe.
The funding will enable Carbios to finance a pilot plant for the recycling of plastics and polyesters fibres into PET plastics which will be the first step towards the industrialisation of this enzymatic PET recycling technology.
This technology uses specific enzymes that recycle used plastics into (recycled) PET that is of similar quality as virgin PET.
By 2025, 100 % of our packaging will be recycled, recyclable or compostable and 50 % of our packaging will be made from used plastics or bio-based” said Barbara Lavernos, General Director of Technologies and Operations at l’Oréal.
Will l’Oréal Bounce into PLA
The chances that l’Oréal makes a move into PLA are very high. Earlier this, year we covered another article:
Danish enzyme manufacturer Novozymes launched a joint venture with French biotech Carbios to commercialize biodegradable plastics. Novozymes will produce Carbios’ plastic-degrading enzyme technology for Carbios’ subsidiary company Carbiolice.
Carbiolice will embed these enzymes into single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, to help them biodegrade and avoid contributing toxic waste to the environment.
Carbios’ enzymes degrade plastics made from polylactic acid (PLA), often used in plastic cups. Carbiolice plans to sell these enzymes to plastic manufacturers, who can incorporate them into their PLA plastics to make them biodegradable.
The enzyme-plastic mixes can also be ‘programmed’ to degrade the plastic at different rates depending on the application.
It is interesting to speculate that l’Oréal may eventually tap into the PLA market by producing their own PLA compound using biodegradation enzymes and additives they have at hand through their join-venture.
Other multinationals make similar moves
Unilever (Dove, TreSemmé, Tigi et St Ives) announced a three steps plan in April 2019 to use recycled plastics in at least 50% of all their US packaging.
P&G joined a partnership called The Alliance to End Plastic Waste in January 2019 to end marine litter. $1.5 Bln should be spent over a period of 5 years to tackle marine litter.