Mutant enzyme holds key to reinvent the recycling world

Carbios, a green chemistry company, are the first to produce PET-bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, using bioengineered enzymes. 

The “mutant enzyme” was accidentally created by scientists at the University of Portsmouth whilst studying an enzyme found in bacteria. This fortunate accident allows the complete recycling of PET-bottles back to their original form within days. 

Here at The Figure Head, we have briefly touched upon the devastatingly negative effects that plastic pollution has on marine life, plants and wildlife near landfills. To remind you, here are some facts we’ve spoken about before:

  • Plastic bottles make up a third of plastic found in the sea. (by #OneLess campaign)
  •  Over 150 bottles of litter every mile of UK beaches.
  • Approximately 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by marine plastic pollution every year. 

Carbios now aims to use these enzymes to create an industrial-scale recycling process by 2024 after partnering with Pepsi and L’oreal, who are both one of the largest manufacturers of plastic bottles in the world. 

This great news comes just weeks after Pepsi, Coke, Nestle and 7 other companies were all sued for creating a plastic pollution ‘nuisance’. 

An environmental group from California sued 10 of the largest producers of plastic bottles and demanded that these companies stop advertising their products as ‘recyclable’ when they are in fact largely not recycled – as systems for this are rarely in place. 

Let’s hope Coke also invests in this technology so that they can reduce the damage that the 200,000 plastic bottles they produce every minute (equal to 3 million tonnes of plastic every year) has on our planet.

The Raw Brick

This advocate for stopping the use of plastic is worth the read and is doing good work to promote sustainable waste management. His website and his Twitter for more information.

*”I started this journey well over a year ago. When I first came up with the Raw Brick, there wasn’t the pandemic we are facing now, just a slow movement that Governments and politicians either didn’t seem to notice or care about. I have spent 35 years working in the composite industry, and in a ‘light bulb’ moment developed the Raw Brick.”

“I believed that my experience/expertise could help, the facts of how much waste we DON’T recycle is appalling and we all have to take responsibility. It is time that we stop saying is this product we use to replace plastic ‘Commercially viable’ and ask ourselves is it ‘Ethically viable’ or ‘Morally viable’, if we don’t take responsibility then what is the point.”

Whether it is because plastics can’t be recycled, or we don’t have enough recycling centres to cope with the demand. It is time that Governments and politicians are honest enough to say and admit that recycling alone doesn’t work, and burying WASTE in landfill sites is not the answer. A small part I can play with the Raw Brick is to help stop non recyclable waste going to landfill and be put to a better use.”

Credit: Jay WhitakerThe Figure Head

Author: The Figure Head

Bringing you all the latest environmental news.

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