Team: Gwenlyn Angel Cabiltes (MSE), Jonathan Chow (MSE)
Advisor(s): Aaron Hall (MSE), Ting Xu (MSE)
The world faces a severe plastic waste problem: Nearly 80% of plastic products end up in landfills or the environment. Biodegradable plastics like polylactic acid (PLA) are a promising solution but face extensive difficulties degrading and composting in most facilities. Our group addresses this issue by pinpointing economically and technologically viable solutions which harness the potential of enzymatic degradation to convert back into simple monomers, producing minimal waste while maintaining material properties. Embedding the degrading enzymes in products enables quicker and thorough breakdown of plastic with the aid of water and heat, and is also compatible with existing composting and waste infrastructure.
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