Environmental Win as Scientists Create a Mutated Enzyme Capable of Recycling Plastic Bottles in Hours

credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

PET plastic, the material typically used to make plastic bottles and containers, has been a nuisance to recycling efforts worldwide as it is not biodegradable. However, scientists are now rejoicing in their creation of a mutant bacterial enzyme which breaks down this common use plastic in a matter of hours.

The company who has managed this scientific and environmental break through is Carbios and they aim to be able to use this enzyme for large scale industrial recycling within five years.

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The original enzyme was first discovered in a compost pile of leaves however its mutation has managed to reduce PET plastic to chemical building blocks which can be reused to make high-quality bottles.

The company has partnered with conglomerates Pepsi and L’Oreal in order to advance the development of the enzyme.

This kind of plastic is found in all corners of the world, on supermarket shelves, in households and unfortunately, in our environment, as billions of plastic waste pollutes the planet.

Although reducing the use of plastic as society in general is a viable solution to solving the waste problem, the main problem is plastic waste in itself. Furthermore, Carbios has struck a deal with the biotechnology company Novozymes to begin producing this enzyme on a large scale. The cost of producing this enzyme is 4 per cent of the total price of virgin plastic made from oil. Making this solution both economically and environmentally friendly.


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