In Episode 158 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, Causeartist contributor, Rafael Aldon, speaks with Eleonore Eisath, co-founder of beworm, on using the power of nature to recycle the world’s most used plastics.
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About Eleonore Eisath
After graduating from the Wirtschaftsoberschule H. Kunter Bozen with an emphasis on business, management and marketing, Eleonore Eisath completed her Bachelor in Industrial Design at the Università IUAV di Venezia.
In 2019 she rounded out her knowledge with a Master’s degree from TUM.
Since she began her studies at TUM, Eleonore Eisath has been conducting research on a highly innovative recycling system.
In 2019 this led to the spin-off beworm, which is developing a biotic/biocatalytic recycling process to break down oil-based plastics such as PE (polyethylene).
PE is the world’s most commonly used plastic material, which is used in many everyday goods. However, in contrast to the more familiar PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the other main chemical component for consumer goods, it is to date hardly ever being recycled.
In addition to beworm, only a handful of other companies worldwide are working on this important task for the future.
Beworm uses the power of nature to recycle the world’s most used plastics. Beworm is developing a biocatalytic recycling process that decomposes plastic waste into natural raw materials.
They isolate plastic-degrading bacteria from our beloved be(e)worms to degrade polyethylene, the world’s most used plastic material.
The enzymes produced by this bacteria split the plastics up into basic chemicals for the production new (bio)plastics or other petrochemical products – creating an infinite, closed-loop system.
Will the worms be used in the final process?
Experimenting with the worms was the starting point, but they are not suitable for the big scale degradation process that beworm is aiming for.
As the team isolated the PE-degrading bacteria from the worms guts it’s much more reasonable now to analyze them and find the essential mechanism, which is a biocatalytic reaction caused by enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins produced by an organisms to break down things. Even you have plenty of enzymes in your body! And not everyones body produces the same enzymes, it depends on your genetics.
You surely have heard about the term Lactose intolerant – this means that your body doesn’t produce enough of the enzyme Lactase, that is capable of breaking down the milk sugar Lactose.
I'm Rafael, Co-founder of regenr8 and an Impact investor working to replace old-world thinking in venture capital and accelerate regenerative business ecosystems that lead to the regeneration of our planet.