💚 Breaking Down Plastic in 24 Hours ♻️

💚 Breaking Down Plastic in 24 Hours ♻️

Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:5 Minutes


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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?

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Stay impactful,

Happy Thursday 👋

Here are the impactful insights that I have for you today:

  • The enzyme that breaks down plastics in 24 hours ♻️
  • Billions more access drinking water 💧
  • Marine week ahead 🌊
  • And more… 💚

Think about all the plastic products that you still have to use in your daily life. Wouldn’t it be great if all of these had sustainable alternatives?

I would love that, but I have the feeling that this is still some time away… Though there are great organizations already out there making a difference (just like SWOP, for example).

The problem is that plastic can currently only be recycled a few times before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used.

That is, until a new scientific breakthrough might change that!

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♻️ Breakthrough: Scientists Discover Plastic-Gobbling Enzyme That Can Break Down Plastics in 24 Hours

Fantastic news from The University of Texas in Austin! Researchers have discovered an enzyme that eats plastic rapidly, a development that could revolutionize how we manage waste. 

By combining artificial intelligence, chemical engineering, and synthetic biology, the team transformed a natural enzyme called PETase into a plastic-eating machine.

Here’s a quick overview of the science for you: 

  • PET, short for polyethylene terephthalate (the chemical name for polyester), is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic widely used in food packaging and plastic bottles.
  • PETase got its name from its ability to degrade these PET plastics.
  • To speed up the process of deconstructing PET plastic even at low temperatures, researchers modified PETase to create a new enzyme, FAST-PETase.
  • This gives bacteria the ability to recycle waste plastic efficiently.

With plastics accounting for 8% of all solid waste globally, this new enzyme, which is laser-focused on breaking down plastic, could be a game-changer.

Most plastic, about 90%, isn’t recycled and ends up in landfills, where it can leach long-lasting chemicals into the ground, or is burned or broken down at huge energy costs and tons of pollution produced. 

This enzyme, however, requires much less energy to produce and works quickly.

Plastic that would last almost 500 years in a landfill can be broken down in a day by bacteria armed with FAST-PETase and turned into base units that can then be reused.

The scientists at UT Austin are ramping up production for real-world uses.

  • They envision this product cleaning up landfills, high-waste industries, and polluted natural areas in the future.
  • While this discovery is groundbreaking, it’s important to remember that it’s still in the early stages of development and its large-scale application and effectiveness in various environments are yet to be fully explored. 

Nevertheless, this is a promising step toward a more sustainable future.

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📢 More Good News…

💧 WHO report shows billions more have access to drinking water: According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, 2.1 billion people have gained access to safely managed drinking water since the year 2000. Help even more get access to clean water here.

🚫 U.S. announces new rule to cut hydrofluorocarbons by 40%: Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), although used for our favorite appliances like refrigerators and air-conditioners, is a category of greenhouse gasses that is linked to global warming. Thankfully though, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the announcement to reduce HFC consumption in the US based on historic levels by 40% between 2024 and 2028. 

New liquid helmet cushioning technology discovered: This newly invented design integrates nanofoam with “non-wetting ionized liquid” to create a flexible liquid cushion that can be used in helmets. This versatile and sophisticated material can be used to provide better protection to athletes, car occupants, and even hospital patients that use wearable medical devices.

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🌊 Event of the Week: National Marine Week

Did you know that National Marine Week starts this coming Saturday, July 22? Despite the name, this special event will be celebrated all the way until August 6 to make the most of the different tide times. This year’s spotlight will center on the unsung heroes of the marine world, consisting of species that you might not have ever heard of before. Multiple events for marine conservation will be hosted to empower people to take meaningful action for nature and to create an inclusive society where nature matters. 🐠

Below are our favorite charities that are especially relevant to this event:

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📜 This Week in History

🏅 July 20, 1968: The Special Olympics held its first-ever games in Chicago, Illinois with 1,000 athletes—all of whom had intellectual disabilities—as their participants. It is quickly dubbed the world’s largest inclusive sports event.

🌙 July 20, 1969: The first live television transmission from the moon was broadcast, watched by an estimated 600 million people worldwide. The global event united people from various countries and cultures, demonstrating the power of technology to connect humanity.

🌊 July 22, 1793: Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first recorded person to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America. Mackenzie’s journey underscored the spirit of exploration and the quest for knowledge.

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💭 Quote of the Week

“The single observation I would offer for your consideration is that some things are beyond your control. You can lose your health to illness or accident. You can lose your wealth to all manner of unpredictable sources. What are not easily stolen from you without your cooperation are your principles and your values. They are your most important possessions and, if carefully selected and nurtured, will well serve you and your fellow man.”

― Neil Armstrong; American astronaut, aeronautical engineer, and the first person to walk on the moon

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Share the news with your friends to make a bigger positive impact on the world and society!

Stay impactful 💚

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PS: Did you notice that we slightly changed the newsletter structure and design? Hit “reply” if you noticed these changes and let me know your thoughts! I’ll read and reply to every single email.

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