Wednesday and Thursday, two weeks before the annual flood of gifts during the Christmas season, a special symposium dedicated to the scientific advances in the fields of enzymatic recycling of plastic wastes took place in Paris – La Defense, the business district of the French Capital. The event was organized and sponsored by Biotech-company CARBIOS, one of the major players in this field, to join forces of science and recycling industry.
Prominent scientists and pioneers in the enzymatic depolymerization of PET as a main focus and other plastic polymers like polyethylene or polyurethane were invited to present their most recent results in this very dynamic field. From the MIX-UP-consortium Hendrik Ballerstedt (RWTH Aachen) presented the microbial upcycling of the plastic monomer fraction on a poster, and Uwe Bornscheuer (University Greifswald) gave an exciting lecture not only on enzymatic degradation of PET, but three novel urethanases, and PVA hydrolases. Conference highlights have been the fascinating results on wax worm (Galleria mellonella) PEases by Federica Bertocchini (CSIC), highly efficient mechanoenzymology by Karine Auclair (McGill Motreal), all the newly engineered PETase variants, insights into the molecular working of enzymatic catalysts and the realization of enzymatic recycling of polyester textile fibers or bottles in the process-development of CARBIOS presented by Alain Marty.
The inspiring words of Bertrand Piccard (Solar Impulse) and statements of industrial key-players completed the summit with the ambition to establish enzymatic recycling as the final solution for the plastic crisis. A new event is planned for May 2024.