Scientists create an enzyme that can recycle plastic bottles in a matter of hours

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Scientists create an enzyme that can recycle plastic bottles in a matter of hours

French researchers have discovered an enzyme that can break plastic bottles down into their chemical building blocks in several hours. Those chemical building blocks can then create new, high-quality plastic bottles, The Guardian reports. Traditional recycling methods usually produce low-quality plastic that can only be used in clothing and carpet.

The enzyme was first discovered in a compost pile of leaves. The scientists that discovered the enzyme were able to use it to break down a ton of plastic bottles in 10 hours, and then turn the waste plastic into new food-grade plastic bottles.

Spring leaves arrive in the Southeast 3-4 weeks earlier than long-term average

First leaves and first blooms have arrived in the Southeast this year much earlier than the long-term average (1981-2010), the USA National Phenology Network reports. In parts of the Southeast and Northwest, this year’s spring is the earliest in the 39-year record.  

Temperature and weather events determine how early leaves and blooms arrive each spring. The First Leaf Index and First Bloom Index are based on the leaf out and flowering of lilacs and honeysuckles, which are among the first plants to show their leaves and blooms each spring. 

Need a little pick-me-up? Check out the National Zoo’s cheetah cub cam

On Wednesday, a 5-year-old cheetah named Echo gave birth to four cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute National Zoo in Front Royal, VA. Animal care staff are leaving Echo alone to bond with her cubs and are monitoring the well-being of mother and babies via webcam. Lucky for all of us, there’s a live streaming Cheetah Cam to watch the adorable action.

“It’s thrilling and humbling to witness something as special as an animal birth,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “I’m eager to watch the newborn cubs in their early days. During this extremely tumultuous and isolating time, we want the new cheetah cam and all our live animal webcams to provide much needed moments of relief and inspiration from our natural world.”  

Photo of trash pick up from Getty Images

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