Recycling hope for plastic-hungry enzymePosted on April 23, 2018 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
Science created a ‘wonder material’ in plastic; now nature is helping to unmake it.
PET, the strong plastic commonly used in bottles, takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment.
The modified enzyme, known as PETase, can start breaking down the same material in just a few days.
This could revolutionise the recycling process, allowing plastics to be re-used more effectively.
The enzyme is a number of years away from being deployed on a widespread scale. It will need to degrade PET faster than its current time of a few days before becoming economically viable as part of the recycling landscape.
Prof McGeehan is hopeful that this marks the beginning of a shift in the management of plastics.
“There is an urgent need to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill and the environment, and I think if we can adopt these technologies we actually have a potential solution in the future to doing that” he added.