New ways to a more sustainable future are coming from every angle! PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common thermoplastic used in single-use beverage bottles, but it takes the plastic hundreds of years to break down in the environment. There’s good news ahead, as researchers from the University of Portsmouth and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found a super enzyme that’s derived from bacteria which can naturally and fully digest PET plastic bottles.
This same research team first created an enzyme called PETase that could digest commonly polluting plastics, and now they’ve found a second enzyme that, when combined with PETase, can speed up the breakdown of plastic. What does this mean? Another leap forward to find a solution for plastic waste. But it also means we must all continue to do our part as global citizens: reduce, reuse, recycle!
Staying on the topic of waste. According to the Washington Post, if food waste were an independent nation it would be the 3rd largest contributor to global warming. A coalition of almost 200 major food suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers have committed to the 10x20x30 initiative which aims to cut their food waste by half by 2030. Companies such as Mondelez, Nestle, and PepsiCo have joined the cause, and Aramark shares this 2030 goal. Upcycling is one way that companies are tackling food waste, by finding ways to repurpose what would have been thrown out into packaging and food. As companies are stepping up, we can do our part too, considering consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants cause 80% of food waste, per the nonprofit ReFED. So let’s waste not.