Scientists from Britain and the United States have developed an enzyme that breaks down a common plastic that pollutes the oceans. The discovery could reduce the time that it takes for plastic to decompose from centuries to days.
One of the most common plastics is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can be recycled into items such as clothes and carpets that can then themselves be further recycled.
The scientists believed that their work could result in an enzyme that would degrade PET, reducing it to its original chemical chains, ready to be used again. The breakthrough came after a bacterium that had evolved to consume plastic was found at Japanese recycling plant.