Researchers Engineer an Enzyme that Eats Plastic Waste

Following similar developments in England and France, a team of scientists at The University of Texas at Austin created an enzyme variant that breaks down plastic with the potential to eliminate billions of tons of landfill. The enzyme—dubbed FAST-PETase—targets polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a polymer found in consumer packaging that makes up 12% of global waste. Researchers used a machine learning model to generate mutations of a …

Carlo Ratti Associati’s Eco-Friendly Scribit Pens

Completely compostable and filled with edible ink, design agency Carlo Ratti Associati’s eco-friendly Scribit pens aim to curb the damage done to the environment by the 1.6 billion plastic pens thrown out each year. Three models with refillable barrels exist—one from responsibly farmed wood; another from recycled, anodized aluminum; and one from biodegradable PHB plastic (which, unlike the other two, could still potentially shed microplastics). …

Scoby Slime a Sustainable, Edible Packaging Possibility

As single-use plastic waste continues to pile up, packaging solutions comprised of alternative materials are in high demand. While recycled material offers the opportunity for adaptive reuse, options that are naturally available could provide even more sustainable solutions. Scoby, an edible and natural byproduct of the process of fermenting kombucha, could be a zero-waste option for packaging dry and semi-dry goods. Polish designer Roza Janusz …