A company named Carbios has tried for quite some time now to create a bacterial enzyme that would break down plastic bottles for recycling. The idea of recycling plastic and not have it pollute our planet is a noble one, and the exciting thing about Carbios and their mutant enzyme is that it works. This enzyme can easily break down the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles into their chemical composites.
As a result, you can reuse it to create new bottles if you want. Carbios didn’t work alone for this particular research. They partnered up with L’Oreal and Pepsi to create this technology, and according to this paper, it seems their research is a very successful one.
Learning more about the PET hydrolase enzyme
This PET hydrolase enzyme can break down around 90% o all PET polymers, and it just takes 10 hours to do that. Researchers tested a multitude of PET hydrolase enzymes, but this one seems to be the most powerful. However, This is not a new enzyme. It was initially found in composted leaves in 2012, and it was not used that much, which a lot of people consider being quite the waste.
What makes the enzyme so good is the fact that it’s reliable, efficient but it’s easy to produce too. Creating new plastic from oil would cost no less than 25 times more than the PET hydrolase expenses. So yes, this is a potent enzyme that has the potential to change the recycling world unexpectedly.
Right now, the PET hydrolase enzyme is not available for the public; it’s still under research. But they do want to test its commercial and industrial potential in France in 2021. And if everything is in order and there are no problems, then this enzyme will be available at an industrial scale around 2024-2025.
Can this enzyme make a difference?
Recycling plastic is a critical topic for our society. There’s a lot of plastic in the world’s oceans and the environment as a whole. This is why having an enzyme that can break down plastic quickly and affordably can make a huge difference. This is an interesting approach and one that has the potential to change the world we live in and make it a lot better.
If used adequately, the new enzyme has the potential to help us focus more on circular PET recycling. Nowadays, we are relying on oil to create new plastics. But with the PET hydrolase enzyme, we will be able to recycle the plastic that’s already out there. And as you can imagine, there’s a lot of it. Also, oil is not a renewable resource, so it’s a great idea to stop using it for plastics as much as we can. While the PET hydrolase enzyme is still a long way from being commercially available, the results that it delivers are quite amazing. And yes, used adequately, the enzyme will help us free the world from plastic waste! This year when we are creating our lawns and gardens for the spring season, we should also consider the lively hood of bees.