President János Áder on Monday hosted two young Hungarian chemists in his podcast Blue Planet, who had created a mixture of bacteria which could make plastics bio-degradable.
In his conversation with Liz Madaras and Krisztina Lévay, Áder noted that the annual volume of plastic produced in the past 50 years had increased 20 times, adding that 20,000 plastic bottles per second were sold globally. Those bottles take 500 years to decompose, he said, and insisted that in view of the rate of production by 2050 “we could have more plastic in the seas and oceans than fish”.
Lévay said in the podcast that their invention, now registered, could be used to decompose a wide range of plastics, “roughly all plastic waste produced in a household”.
Madaras said that the bacteria could transform plastic, produced to be long-lasting, into environment-friendly matter and re-enter the eco-system. The mineral oil, which serves as a raw material for those plastics, “came from vegetable and animal remains many million years ago”.
The inventors said that the waste would not require any preliminary chemical treatment before being exposed to the bacteria. The selectively collected waste could be transformed into biomass in a matter of eight weeks, and then used as a soil fertiliser.
The president voiced hope that industrial utilisation of the invention could start before the end of this year.
featured image: waste on flooding Tisza river in February (illustration); via Attila Balázs/MTI