This bacteria can fully degrade and utilize PET, a widely used plastic
An estimated 311 million tons of plastics are produced annually worldwide; 90% of these are derived from petrol and the majority of these plastics are used for packaging (water bottles). However, only ~14% of them are collected for recycling. PET or polyethylene terephthalate is the plastic found in most disposable water bottles and also in polyester clothing, frozen dinner trays and packaging materials. “If you walk down the aisle in Wal-Mart you’re seeing a lot of PET,” says Tracy Mincer, a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Biodegradation is known as the chemical dissolution of materials back into natural elements by microorganisms. Why is it important, you may ask? Simply put, the more biodegradable a material is the more environmentally friendly it is.