Scottish research to look at turning waste PET into drugs


A team of Scottish researchers are investigating whether PET could be recycled into drugs to treat neurological conditions.

Scientists from Impact Solutions, biotechnology researchers from the University of Edinburgh, packaging manufacturer API Foilmakers, and the Industrial Biotechnology Centre (IBioIC) are behind the project to explore a new use for recycled PET.


The project is using genetically modified bacteria and enzymes to breakdown the plastic waste into core chemical components that can be converted into valuable pharmaceuticals for treating a range of life-limiting conditions such as brain disorders.

As the majority of pharmaceuticals are currently petrochemical based, this project represents an opportunity to develop more sustainable techniques.

IBioIC director of business engagement Liz Fletcher said: “The exploration of PET plastics as a feed source for manufacturing medication represents a significant leap forward in bio-based medicines.

“The research also marks an important step in Scotland’s efforts to reach net zero, using enzymes and engineered biology for sustainable manufacturing. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact of this project and are pleased to continue our support for a company providing valuable alternatives for industrial plastic waste.”