Plastic is often considered an amazing material, however, used and abused in many industrial sectors, because of its cost-effectiveness and strong and durable shape. For this reason , since the 1950s, about 8.3 billion metric tonnes of the plastic have been produced all over the world.
The vast majority of monomers used to make plastics, such as ethylene and propylene, are derived from fossil hydrocarbons. None of the commonly used plastics are biodegradable. Therefore, they accumulate rather than decompose. It has been reported that about 79% of the plastic produced over the last 70 years has been thrown away either into landfill sites or into the general environment, thereby with an heavy impact on the same environment, the human health, the marine life and animals.
The innovativeness of the present project concerns the development and the application of novel microorganisms and enzymes in environmentally responsible reaction media such as Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs), aimed at resolving the end-of-life issue of plastic by converting them into valuable feedstocks useful for the bio-based industry without any preliminary separation or sorting operations. DESs are important alternatives to toxic and volatile organic solvents due to their interesting properties and benefits such as low cost, no inflammability, recyclability, low vapour pressure, ease synthetic accessibility, benign and safe nature along with renewability and biodegradability.