There’s a plastic-eating bacteria, and it’s now on steroids … so to speak.

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A few years ago, at an Osaka, Japan recycling plant, scientists discovered a bacteria, called Ideonella sakaienses, that eats one of the most common forms of plastic, known as polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. That form of plastic is found in water bottles, food containers, and polyester. You know the items with the “1” symbol in your recycling bin? Those tend to be made of PET.

Researchers from Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the U. S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Library were trying to model the enzyme, and what they then ended up with is a mutant strain of the same thing, but it eats plastic even better.

Cows eat straw on May 30, 2015 in Agadez, Niger. among plastic bags littering the ground. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

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