In a effort to combat this growing environmental issue, a group of scientists have discovered a way to convert recycled plastic bottles into vanilla flavouring by using genetically engineered bacteria.
Plastic bottles are the second most common type of plastic pollution and it has led to the material severely impacting the wildlife and creating widespread pollution.
Therefore scientists have joined forces and developed a mutant enzyme that can break down polyethylene terephthalate found in bottles into vanillin, which is the essential constituent of vanilla and vanilla flavouring.
Vanillin is a popular chemical found in the growing market which has an in-demand flavouring and has a wide range of pharmaceutical and herbicide use.
In fact, the demand for vanillin reached more than 37,000 tonnes in 2018 with 85% of it is currently being synthesised from fossil fuels.
This ability to use recycled bottles as part of its development, is of great contribution to reduce the plastic pollution and given that plastic loses 95% of their material value after one use, the ability to convert it to 79% of the product is of a significant value.
The work carried out by the scientists is of its first case of upcycling plastic in this way and when optimised it can radically alter our views on plastic and what we do with it after we are done using it.