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Birch Biosciences Breaking Down Plastic

Birch Biosciences is revolutionizing plastic recycling with enzymes, synthetic biology, and machine learning, reducing carbon emissions and creating a circular economy for plastic

  • Birch Biosciences pioneers enzyme-driven plastic recycling, reducing emissions.
  • Birch's process enables continuous recycling into high-quality products, fostering sustainability.
  • Led by Johan Kers, Birch Biosciences secures $2.2M funding, gaining support for their work.

Picture this: you toss a plastic bottle into a recycling bin, thinking you've done your bit for the environment. But did you know that less than 9% of plastic is actually recycled in the United States? Birch Biosciences is here to change that narrative.

This Portland-based startup is on a mission to revolutionize plastic recycling using enzymes, synthetic biology, and machine learning. Let's dive into their story and discover how they're turning the tide on plastic pollution.

The Plastic Recycling Predicament

Every year, North America churns out a staggering 38 million tons of plastic, yet a significant portion ends up being incinerated or buried in landfills- thereby releasing 850 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The culprit? Traditional mechanical recycling processes, that is inefficient and environmentally damaging. Birch Biosciences saw this as an opportunity to make a difference.

Birch's bright idea

Imagine enzymes as tiny, high-powered scissors, snipping plastic polymers into chemical building blocks that can be used to create top-notch recycled plastic products.

This innovative approach not only reduces carbon emissions by over 70% but also produces recycled plastic that's just as high quality as new plastic.

The Birch Biosciences' difference

What sets Birch Biosciences apart is their commitment to creating a truly circular plastic economy. Unlike traditional recycling, which often results in 'downcycling' to lower-quality products, Birch's process enables plastic products to be continuously recycled into the same high-quality products, creating a sustainable loop.

Johan Kers: The man behind the mission

Leading the charge at Birch Biosciences is Johan Kers, a visionary with a passion for using biotechnology to tackle sustainability challenges. With a Ph.D. from Cornell University and experience at leading biotech companies, Johan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. His goal? To revolutionize plastic recycling and pave the way for a greener future.

Funding and recognition

Since its founding in 2021, Birch Biosciences has secured $2.2 million in funding from sources like the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Their groundbreaking work has garnered attention and support from industry experts and environmental advocates alike.


Birch Biosciences is not just a startup, it's a beacon of hope in the fight against plastic pollution. By harnessing the power of enzymes, synthetic biology, and machine learning, Birch is transforming the way we think about plastic recycling.

Their innovative approach not only reduces waste but also paves the way for a more sustainable future. With Birch Biosciences leading the charge, there's hope that we can break down plastic waste and build a cleaner, greener world for generations to come. SAVE EARTH!!

Are you working on an innovative product? We would love to hear your story. Share it with us at [email protected]

Edited by Shruti Thapa