UK scientists develop a plastic decomposing enzyme

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Plastic is one of the widely used material by humans ever since its invention, from plastic cups to plastic bags, it dominates our daily lives in a way no other material has ever done.

It’s positive impact not withstanding, plastic is also the number one environmental pollutant due to its non biodegradable nature. Animals both on land and sea have suffered the brunt of plastic pollution, with fish and other sea animals found strangled by plastic strings carelessly thrown in the ocean and other land animals suffocated by a carelessly disposed plastic bags.

Due to the danger it poses to both flora and fauna, scientist have been racing against time in their attempt to find solution to its menace. Recycling was once flaunted as the ace in the fight against plastic but it turned out inefficient and costly.

It is in that pursuit for a better way to dispose plastics that scientist have created a mutant bacterial enzyme capable of breaking down plastic bottles for recycling within hours.

The enzyme developed by Carbios- the company behind the idea- reduces the decomposes plastic bottles to chemical building blocks capable of being used to manufacture new bottles as opposed to previous recycling technology that could only produce chemicals for use in the manufacture of cloths and carpets.

The company now seeks to partner with other large users of plastic like Pepsi to roll out industrial manufacturing of the enzyme using fungi. They expect to be in full operation by 2024.

John Otieno

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