New biotech tools and technologies are improving process efficiencies, reducing process energy consumption and limiting the production of waste.
Biotech Derived Enzymes
Biotech scientists developed enzyme-enriched laundry and dishwashing detergents that allow consumers to reduce the temperature of the water needed to clean clothes and dishes, saving energy and money. Biotech-enhanced detergents save the average household $36 per year, for a total household energy savings of $4.1 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
Reducing Chemicals in Manufacturing
The biotechnology industry has simplified the manufacturing process, reducing the volume and variety of chemicals used in manufacturing. In the paper industry, for example, biotech tools have reduced chlorine use by 90 percent, reducing energy use by 32 percent.
By creating biodegradable alternatives, biotechnology is helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills, oceans and the environment at large. Using corn, sugar beets and sugar, biotech companies are creating plastics, fabrics, plastic films, food and beverage containers, and textiles that are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. The production of Vitamin B2, once an energy- and waste-intensive, seven-step chemical process, is now a one-step industrial biotech process. With these improvements, the Vitamin B-2 production process now emits 30 percent less carbon dioxide and 95 percent less waste.
Biotech technologies are helping clean up the environment after disasters and accidents such as oil spills. Biotechnologists have developed genetically engineered organisms and microbes to break down oil after a spill and to help digest pollutants.