Researchers Create Enzyme to Break Down Plastics Quickly
Back in April 2022, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin created an enzyme that can quickly break down plastics.
There's a ever-increasing amount of plastics going into landfills, and the stuff takes centuries to decompose on its own. According to the researchers, the enzyme can shorten that to hours or days. That's a heck of a difference.
Currently, the most common method of disposing of plastics is just throwing them away, where they wind up in a landfill. After that comes burning and other forms of processing, which are energy-intensive and create fumes and byproducts that aren't much better than the plastics.
The researchers are satisfied that everything works in a small scale, so they are now working on scaling up to large scale, real world applications, along with patenting the enzyme.
I have to admit, I hope this succeeds and goes big. Here in Great Falls, it's been years since there was a place to recycle plastics, and the reason I've heard brought up every time the subject comes up is that it's not cost-effective to recycle plastics, because more money would be spent processing the plastics than the end result will be worth. This could change that.
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