5-speed listening (Biodegradable Plastic - Level 5)

Scientists make biodegradable plastic






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Plastic has polluted the countryside and been a threat to wildlife for decades. Environmentalists have pleaded with us to cut the amount of plastic we use or switch to biodegradable alternatives. There may be a solution. Scientists have made a biodegradable plastic. This means the billions of plastic bags, cups, straws, etc. that we throw away each day could be "compostable" - they could break down like organic waste. The scientists are from the University of California. They have invented a plastic that could break down within a few weeks, rather than centuries, using just heat and water.

The new, biodegradable plastic has polyester-eating enzymes inside it. When these enzymes are exposed to heat and water, they eat away at the plastic and turn it into nutrients for the soil. Professor Ting Xu said up to 98 per cent of the plastic her team made degraded into tiny particles. She said: "We are basically saying that we are on the right track. We can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics." She added: "Look at all the wasted stuff we throw away - clothing, shoes, electronics....We are taking things from the earth at a faster rate than we can return them."

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Biodegradable Plastic - Level 4  |  Biodegradable Plastic - Level 6

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