Countless efforts are being made to reuse the plastic or dispose of it in such a way that its toxic effect on the environment is minimized. The world is teeming with landfills, and the most common component of this trash is plastic. It is being used in everything, and if it does not stop, there is going to be an even worse plastic problem than what we are currently facing. It does not only affect terrestrial life but has an excessively negative influence over marine life as well where marine animals die every day by choking on plastic or getting trapped and drowning. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, every year, 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in oceans.
Scientists from the University of Illinois and Michigan Technological University have developed a project that will convert plastic into protein that can be eaten. They have received 1 million euros for presenting this project and winning the 2021 Future Insight Prize.
This solution is promising as it reduces the plastic left for decaying and producing an excessive amount of waste. Moreover, it is converted into edible protein that is safe. It is a perfect sustainable solution for excessive waste.
The project is named Food Generator and is focused on using plastics that have reached the end of their useful life, preventing them from rotting in oceans or getting collected the landfills. One of the scientists has called this technology microbial synthetic biology that is included in engineered gene circuits which helps in finding biological solutions for the increasingly appalling global problems and crises.
They have administered microbes that will play their role in breaking down plastics. These plastics will then be converted into edible proteins by these microbes. They present their outputs in the categories of food and fuel.