Is it Possible to Break Down Plastic in a Week? Austin Scientists Say Yes
Plastic is everywhere. At the grocery store, in our home and office, in the kitchen, and close to our children as toys. We use plastic bags to clear out our trash and all the plastic waste we dispose of gets collected at landfills. Since plastic is tough and long-lasting with no options for recycling, it is difficult to do away with it, making it a problematic material that pollutes our precious environment and planet.
BREAKING DOWN PLASTIC: THE HOPE
On its own, plastic can stay around for hundreds of years as it is a challenge to break it down completely. However, scientists at Austin’s University of Texas have given plastic warriors reason to be hopeful. The team is creating an enzyme that can break down plastic and help in its degradation in as few as seven days.
The logic is simple. The enzyme will break down the plastic into smaller portions, creating new plastic that can be recycled and reused.
The process is called Depolymerization which means breaking down a polymer back to its original molecular components, further reusable as new forms of plastic.
THE MUCH-AWAITED ENZYME
The team of scientists has named the enzyme –FAST-PETase – Functional, Active, Stable, and Tolerant PETase. According to reports, it can break down almost 51 variants of plastic within 7 days. Of course, factors such as temperature and pH conditions need to be maintained.
The fight against plastic waste is a long one. But it is also a necessary one, considering its negative effects on Mother Earth. Though the need of the hour is to replace plastic with more sustainable options, before it can be done on a mega level, having a solution like FAST-PETaseenzyme that can break down plastic in seven days is much awaited.
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