436.2 MILLION TONS OF PLASTIC PRODUCED SINCE 1950.
Only 9% of plastic is ever recycled.
Advantages of Plastic
Disadvantages of Plastic
Created from non-renewable resources
400+ years to degrade
Because of these advantages, 40% of plastic produced is regarded as single-use, meaning that the plastic is discarded after being used only once.
WHAT'S THE ISSUE WITH PLASTIC?
Plastic is the #1 leading contributor to pollution in the world.
The most threatening form of plastic, however, is known as microplastics: tiny pieces of plastic that have resulted from decomposition.
Due to the volume of microplastics found in our ecosystems, many species consume these plastics. Some of those species end up on our dinner plates.
But when larger pieces of plastic are mistakenly consumed by animals, their desire to eat is reduced, causing starvation. Additionally, sharp pieces of plastic are found to puncture organs or congest digestive tracts, ultimately leading to death.
However, plastic does not only just affect animals; plastic pollution is a detriment to our Earth.
On a larger scale, PET makes up 10% of all produced plastic, either as post-consumer waste or microplastics. The most common use of PET is in food packaging, especially drink bottles and clothing, but also makes up a large portion of the kayaks and other small boats used in rivers.
WHAT IS THE IGEM TAMU 2022 TEAM DOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
We are working to develop a method of disposing and eliminating PET regardless of their condition, which enzymatic degradation presents.
Our idea of developing a whole-cell biocatalyst will be ideal for avoiding costly and time-consuming protein purification processes that hamper the potential industrial applications of PETase.
Howdy! Our team is the very first team from the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University to compete in iGEM. Texas A&M University (TAMU) is the largest university by student enrollment in the United States, and is known for its programs in engineering, technology, and agriculture. TAMU’s chemical engineering department is one of the largest, fully accredited programs in the country. Our team is proud to take part in this competition where we may represent our department, University, and community.