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Plastic enzyme recovers 90% of PET from plastic bottles

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

Researchers from the University of Toulouse have collaborated with sustainable plastics company Carbios to develop an enzyme that can break down the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The plastic, commonly used in plastic bottles and packaging, is assumed to be easy to recycle. But actually, only 30% of the plastic can be converted for re-use.

However, this new enzyme has shown to recover 90% of the plastic from a single bottle. Building from a previous study on plastic eating enzymes, the researchers have developed an alternative that is 10,000 times more effective at breaking plastic bonds. This means that the raw plastic materials can be re-used, negating the current system of downgrading the plastic into lower strength materials.

A testing facility is now in development with the next findings due sometime in 2021.

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