Background

For it’s size, Ireland is among the highest waste producers in Europe – our waste every year would fill Croke Park to the top of the stands! Thankfully we’ve moved quickly from a position of almost total reliance on landfill to a high level of recovery of certain recyclable materials, however plastic bottles have a low recycling value and a lot of these bottles (which are often non-biodegradable) end up in landfills forever. So how can we convert that waste into something that is valuable? Kevin O’Connor at UCD may have the answer, with new technology that uses a combination of chemistry to break down plastic bottles and bacteria to convert the breakdown product to a biodegradable plastic.