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A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine . Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is the plastic used in soda bottles, textiles and packaging. With almost 70 million tons manufactured annually worldwide, it is also the most abundant polyester plastic because it is strong and lightweight, explains the study’s abstract, which was published in Nature . Unfortunately, current PET recycling is inefficient. When plastics of different colors are melted down during the recycling process, a gray or black plastic starting material results that few companies want to purchase to package their products, explained Science Magazine . The process results in low-grade plastic fibers only good enough for clothing and carpets, reported The Guardian . These eventually end up in a landfill or incinerated, added Science Magazine . "It’s not really recycling at all," […]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for your positivity! I knew happy ecological news was there and I appreciate you finding it and telling us about it. That’s fantastic!

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