Plastic eating bacteria discovered: a solution to solve pollution crisis?

plastic bottle pollution

Japanese scientists have discovered something that is going to solve a huge environmental problem – disposable plastic bottles that pollute the environment. A new bacteria have been found and the main feature of this new specie is that they "eat" plastic found in bottles.

The scientist team from Kyoto Institute of Technology and the Keio University collected 250 samples of sediments, soil contaminated by PET from plastic recycling site and investigated the microbes developing in samples. PET - polyethylene terephthalate-is the most common type of plastic and it is found in water bottles, clothes, food packaging. The result of Japanese studies showed that some particular type of bacteria – named Ideonella sakainesis  - destroys PET, using two different types of enzymes and transforming plastic into harmless by-products.

scientists pollution

According to Ban The Bottle, a world organisation whose aim is to sensibilize people to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles, Americans use 50 billion plastic water bottles every year but only 23% of them is recycled. By breaking down PET into manageable portions, scientists suggested that this bacteria could help recycle millions of tonnes of plastic bottles.

Despite this important discovery, much more work need to be done. In the meantime, it is important to go plastic free – our small choices are a big benefit to our planet.  Wondering how to go plastic free? Read 5 Great Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste at Home.