Date lodged: 19 April 2018
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that the enzyme, PETase, might help reduce plastic pollution, whether it will (a) carry out an assessment of its effectiveness and (b) provide support for (i) additional research and (ii) establishing a safe procedure for its use.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 2 May 2018
We are aware of the recent media reports indicating that researchers at Portsmouth University have succeeded in improving a naturally occurring enzyme which can digest polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It will be important to understand the full material lifecycle impacts of such approaches and while this is an interesting development given the urgency of tackling plastic pollution I feel it is important that we continue to take action now to address the causes of plastic pollution.
Current action includes introducing a Deposit Return Scheme, improving recycling and encouraging industry to improve the recyclability of products (e.g. via product design). We will continue to support innovation through our Circular Economy Investment Fund which supports projects led by Scottish SMEs. Zero Waste Scotland is open to discussing potential applications of this and other innovative technologies with companies looking to deploy them within Scotland.