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Devouring Plastic

The last month has seen two innovative responses to the plastic crisis, both of which involve the ecologically sound consumption of plastic.

The first involves an edible plastic substitute which not only breaks down naturally, but can be consumed by the very sea creatures which are typically harmed by the non-soluble traditional plastics. Taken to trial with can holders and straws, but applicable across the packaging industry, this offers a paradigm shift and gives waste a purpose:

Biodegradable 6-pack ring is edible to sea life

This 6-pack ring is edible! Talk about animal and eco-friendly.

Posted by State of the Carte on Monday, 9 April 2018

r/Damnthatsinteresting – Honestly one of the best ideas

The second, the result of a lab experiment gone wrong, pioneers an enzyme which consumes plastic on a molecular level. ‘It all began when researchers took a closer look at the crystal structure of a recently discovered enzyme called PETase, which evolved naturally and was already known to break down and digest plastic … But their investigation had an unlikely result — they introduced a mutation to PETase. The result was a new type of enzyme that digests plastic more efficiently than the original’:

Lab ‘Accident’ Becomes Mutant Enzyme That Devours Plastic

Lab ‘Accident’ Becomes Mutant Enzyme That Devours Plastic

A new enzyme unintentionally produced by researchers has a voracious appetite for plastic.

Source: www.livescience.com/62328-plastic-eating-enzyme.html

 

Both of these solutions are in their earliest phases, but they promise exciting and real changes. Used in tandem with multiple use refillables and traditional recycling methods, these breakthroughs could offer a long term solution to the planet’s plastic build up.