Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Environment Ministry Notifies Amended Rules on Plastic Waste Management

Theresa May is expected to launch a multi-million-pound bid to help rid the oceans of plastic pollution Theresa May is expected to launch a multi-million-pound bid to help rid the oceans of plastic pollution
Laurie Berry | 17 April, 2018, 12:02

Bottles made from PET are used to package 70 per cent of soft drinks, fruit juices and water sold in shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

From the funding announced by May, £25 million ($35.8 million) will be used to help researchers investigate the issue of marine plastic from a scientific, economic and social perspective.

The team, whose finding was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, is working on improving the enzyme further to make it capable of breaking down PET plastics on an industrial scale.

The new research sprang from the discovery of bacteria in a Japanese waste recycling centre that had evolved the ability to feed on plastic with a natural enzyme called PETase.

"What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock", said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research.

"We've made an improved version of the enzyme better than the natural one already", Professor McGeehan told Reuters.

"But they ended up going a step further and accidentally engineered an enzyme which was even better at breaking down PET plastics", said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed USA journal.

London stabbing: man killed in Forest Gate
The Met Police said paramedics from London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance attended the Forest Gate killing. Officers were called to a residential address in Sudbourne Road, Brixton, at around 6.36pm on Sunday.

The researchers worked with scientists at Diamond Light Source (DLS) in the United Kingdom, deploying a synchrotron that uses intense beams of X-rays 10 billion times brighter than the sun to act as a microscope powerful enough to see individual atoms.

Earlier work had shown that some fungi can break down PET plastic, which makes up about 20% of global plastic production.

Although it is said to be highly recyclable, discarded PET persists for hundreds of years in the environment before it degrades.

'The technology exists and it's well within the possibility that in the coming years we will see an industrially viable process to turn PET and potentially other (plastic) substrates like PEF, PLA and PBS back to their original building blocks, so that they can be sustainably recycled'.

One possible improvement being explored is to transplant the mutant enzyme into an "extremophile bacteria" that can survive temperatures above the 70C melting point of PET - the plastic is likely to degrade 10-100 times faster when molten.

Together with CCOA joint chair Vanuatu, UK said it will urge other countries to ban use of microbeads, cut down on single use plastic bags, or take steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.

"I think [the new research] is very exciting work, showing there is strong potential to use enzyme technology to help with society's growing waste problem", said Oliver Jones, a chemist at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and not part of the research team.

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