Professor John McGeehan

Tackling plastic pollution using solutions from nature, John McGeehan, Centre for Enzyme Innovation.

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), we asked our researchers to tell us about their work and the challenges of tackling climate change.

Professor John McGeehan is a Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Portsmouth, and is also Director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation.

He has received funding from Research England, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council, and has carried out work on Diamond light Source at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

John’s research is currently focused on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is commonly used in single use bottles, different packaging applications, and textiles, and the aim is to be able to use nature for solutions, to break down single use plastic into its original building blocks so it can be used again and again.

Estimates are that by 2050 we’ll be using 20 percent of our fossil resources, that’s oil and gas, towards making new plastic. That cannot happen, we cannot allow this to happen, because we can actually recycle the plastic that’s already up on the surface here, we just need to find better solutions.

Last updated: 4 November 2021

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