Genetically engineered microbes convert waste plastic into vanillin

via Chemistry World

Scientists in the UK have genetically engineered Escherichia coli to transform plastic waste into vanillin. ‘Instead of simply recycling plastic waste into more plastic, what our system demonstrates for the first time is that you can use plastic as a feedstock for microbial cells and transform it into something with higher value and more industrial utility,’ says Stephen Wallace from the University of Edinburgh. The biotransformation ‘isn’t just replacing a current chemical process, it’s actually achieving something that can’t be done using modern synthetic methods.’

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most widely used types of plastic. Most existing recycling technologies degrade PET into its substituent monomers, ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, then repurpose them in second-generation plastic materials. Wallace and Joanna Sadler, also at the University of Edinburgh, want to upcycle these monomers into alternative products.

Read the full story here: https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/genetically-engineered-microbes-convert-waste-plastic-into-vanillin/4013767.article

plastic scrap

New enzyme cocktail digests plastic waste ‘six times faster’

via Circular

The scientists who re-engineered the plastic-eating enzyme PETase have now created an enzyme ‘cocktail’ which can digest plastic up to six times faster.

A second enzyme, found in the same waste dwelling bacterium that lives on a diet of plastic bottles, has been combined with PETase to speed up the breakdown of plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.circularonline.co.uk/news/new-enzyme-cocktail-digests-plastic-waste-six-times-faster/

China’s Ban on Plastic Waste Imports

via The New York Times

Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling

LONDON — Ever since China announced last year that it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump,” recycling about half of the globe’s plastics and paper products, Western nations have been puzzling over what to do when the ban went into effect, which it did on Jan. 1.

The answer, to date, in Britain at least, is nothing. At least one waste disposal site in London is already seeing a buildup of plastic recyclables and has had to pay to have some of it removed.

Read the full story here: https://nyti.ms/2Ezr1TE

 

 

 

Plastics Generation

via Newsweek

Humans have produced more than 9 billion tons of plastic throughout history, most of it ending up in landfills

The total is approximately 25,000 times the weight of the Empire State Building

Read the full story here: http://www.newsweek.com/plastic-production-pollution-9-billion-tons-recycling-639226

 

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