Scientists in Japan found something extraordinary in 2016, a bacteria that has the capability to “eat” plastic. This bacteria is called Ideonella sakaiensis and it decomposes the type of plastic that is commonly made with water bottles (PET).
There are a lot of possibilities for this bacteria and scientists are hoping that it can help eliminate the tens of millions of plastic waste that we put into the environment annually.
In an article from Forbes, scientists say it could, “be possible to build industrial-scale facilities where enzymes chomp on piles of landfill-bound plastic, or even to spray them on the mountains of plastic that accumulate in the ocean or in rivers.”
Our plastic waste has been a major focus during the Covid-19 pandemic and researchers are predicting that by 2050 Earth will have as much plastic in the ocean as fish. This large-scale commercial use of this bacteria is years away and there is still lots to figure out in order to be able to use it efficiently.