Experts have managed to engineer a mutant enzyme that is converting 90% of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials. These can be used in order to produce new high-quality bottles in just a few hours.
This discovery could turn out vital as it could revolutionize the whole recycling industry. This saves about 30% of PET plastics from landfills according to the latest reports coming from Science Magazine and cited by the EcoWatch.
PET is the plastic that’s used in soda bottles, textiles, and packaging as well. There are about 70 million tons that are manufactured on a yearly basis all over the world, and this is the most abundant polyester plastic because it’s strong and lightweight, according to the abstract of the study, which was recently published in Nature.
The current PET recycling is inefficient
EcoWatch writes that the current PET recycling is inefficient, as explained by the professor John McGeehan, the director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth, to Science Magazine.
McGeehan, who was not involved in the research, called this new enzyme “a huge step forward,” according to Science Magazine.
He also noted that Carbios, the French sustainable plastics company behind the breakthrough, is the industry leader in engineering enzymes to break down PET at large scale, according to The Guardian.
Science magazine explained that the “team at Carbios screened 100,000 micro-organisms for promising candidates, and eventually began introducing mutations to LLC. Native LLC falls apart after just a few days of working at 65°C, the temperature at which PET begins to soften but not yet melt.”
Our publication in @nresearchnews hails the breakthrough innovation developed Carbios and @TBI_Biotech. Thanks to our partners who have chosen to support our disruptive enzymatic #recycling technology: @Loreal, @NestleWatersHQ, @PepsiCo, @SuntoryGlobal, @TechnipFMC & @Novozymes pic.twitter.com/2rOHYVZC2R
— Carbios (@Carbios) April 9, 2020
Check out EcoWatch’s original article in order to find out more details on this important discovery.