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Plastic eating enzyme 6 times more effective than before

We are always being told to recycle more and use less plastic, all very admirable and desirable things to do, but it seems that Mother Nature has her own way of dealing with all the discarded plastic bottles too. Scientists in Japan have discovered a new super-enzyme that degrades the plastic bottles six times faster and this could be put to use in recycling plants within two years from now.

The scientists took a bacteria known to feast on plastics and evolved it to be a super-efficient muncher of our trash. The same scientists also believe that combining the new enzyme with others that break down cotton could allow mixed fabric clothing to be recycled too.

In April 2020 Carbios, a French research company, discovered yet another enzyme inside a compost heap of leaves that can degrade 90 per cent of plastic bottles within 10 hours, but needs the heat to a balmy 70C to work most effectively. The Japanese enzyme, however, can work at room temperature, but by combining the two a super-enzyme could be created.

Whilst these developments are of crucial importance in our fight against waste plastics, the key thing everyone must do is to use less plastic and recycle more of it that we do use.

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