Plastic eating enzyme research features in new European exhibition

Hands holding up small pieces of coloured plastic.

The exhibition follows the meteoric rise of plastics during the 20th century, its environmental impact and sustainable solutions.

  • 13 April 2022
  • 2 min read

Pioneering plastic-eating enzyme research from the University of Portsmouth features in a new European exhibition about plastic that examines the history and future of this controversial material.

The University’s research into enzymes that ‘eat’ plastics and breaks them down into their chemical components is part of Plastic: Remaking Our World, which is currently on show at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany until 4 September. It will then travel to the V&A Dundee (opening 29 October) and to MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon.

The exhibition follows the meteoric rise of plastics during the 20th century, its environmental impact and the cutting-edge solutions for a more sustainable use of plastic. Exhibits include rarities from the dawn of the plastic age and objects of the pop era as well as numerous contemporary designs and projects ranging from efforts to clean up rivers and oceans to smart concepts for waste reduction and recycling through to bioplastics made from algae and mycelium.

Professor John McGeehan

It is a wonderful opportunity for us to reach a very large audience and tell them about our exciting nature-based research to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution and develop biological systems that can convert waste plastic into valuable products.

Professor John McGeehan, Director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation

Professor John McGeehan, Director of the University’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) features as one of 12 scientists who have recorded talking head videos that form part of the exhibition. Information about the world-leading research by the CEI, is also included in the exhibition catalogue.

Professor McGeehan said: “I am very excited to be a part of this amazing exhibition. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to reach a very large audience and tell them about our exciting nature-based research to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution and develop biological systems that can convert waste plastic into valuable products.”

After its presentation at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, the exhibition will travel to V&A Dundee (from 29 October 2022 to 5 February 2023) and MAAT, Lisbon (spring 2023).