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This Plastic-Eating Enzyme Could Save The Planet From Pollution

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Scientists in Japan have created an enzyme that’s able to eat through plastic. That's right: This enzyme might be key in eating through the planet's pollution, including plastic bottles. How does this work? This natural bacteria, formed at recycling centers, is able to digest plastics made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and is now able to "chew" through it more efficiently. Findings from American and British scientists were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

PET has been a common choice for food and beverage packaging. It’s lightweight, can be reused after proper and careful cleaning, and is approved by the FDA. However, if these plastics are thrown away instead of recycled, they can last for centuries before breaking down. Only 25 percent of plastic produced in the United States ends up being recycled.