Plastic Eating Enzyme

Topics: Plastic

Action needs to take place to solve today’s environmental problems. One enormous problem that keeps on growing is the excessive amount of plastic pollution. In developing countries such as ones in Asia and Africa, plastic pollution is a gargantuan problem because of their garbage collection systems [citation here]. They also could be simply uneducated about recycling and the effects of plastic pollution. Therefore, scientists and engineers have created so many innovations that can help plastic pollution worldwide. An amazing innovation that scientists accidentally discovered is a plastic eating enzyme that can be put in oceans to break down plastics.

The number of plastic items created is significantly higher than the number of plastic items recycled. Only 14% of all plastic bottles are recycled, while each grocery store sells packs of plastic bottles. This shows how much plastic is going to the right places. A large percentage of this goes to the ocean, affecting thousands of animals. A number of animals go endangered, or even extinct, because of plastics.

They eat plastic, thinking it is food, get choked by plastic nets, get stabbed by sharp plastic parts, and other occurrences. Therefore, not only is plastic polluting the earth, but also harming its inhabitants.

Most plastic packaging used for foods and drinks are made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the exact material that gets eaten away by the plastic-eating enzyme. A plastic bottle made out of PET takes about 450 years to decompose in the ocean [citation here], which is about five times more than a lifetime of the human being who did not dispose of that bottle correctly.

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The discovery of the plastic eating enzyme was started by Japanese scientists, who discovered a bacteria that can eat plastic called PETase. Two years after, teams at the University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) continued the research and found PETase in a waste recycling center in Japan. The research started because according to Professor McGeehan, Director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Portsmouth University, the main people who must solve plastic pollution are the people who first created materials out of plastic: the scientists themselves. With help from five other institutes from three different countries, the scientists discovered that PETase in order to activate the plastic decomposition, the bacteria itself must be around an environment of PET (as PETase was discovered in a recycling site). Therefore, they created a PETase mutant in order to activate the PETase without needing to be near a recycling site.

Although this discovery has been made, we as inhabitants of this planet must learn how to take care of our planet by straying away from plastic use, or at least learning how to dispose of it properly. (Finish conclusion and attempt to persuade the audience to take action).

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Plastic Eating Enzyme. (2022, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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