Chemicals used in industry to manufacture a variety of goods, from clothes to food and pharmaceuticals, can pollute the environment.
But a team of scientists think the secret to reducing the environmental impact of industry and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels might just be found in fungi.
Fungi contain a diverse source of enzymes, biological catalysts that kick-start chemical reactions in the cells of all living organisms. Scientists believe these enzymes can increasingly be used as a substitute for harsh chemicals often used in industry.
Russell Beard heads to the Arctic and joins scientists collecting fungi capable of tolerating very low temperatures in the hope that these could change manufacturing processes across the world.
While recycling is now commonplace for some materials, many polluting products are still destined for landfill.
And even when items are recycled, they are often turned into low-grade materials that are less valuable than the original.
But recycling company TerraCycle takes materials that are traditionally bound for landfill, such as cigarette butts, crisp packets and even chewing gum, and invents ways of recycling them into valuable plastics which are sold to manufacturers.
The company also runs 90,000 collection points worldwide and by offering cash in exchange for trash, encourages communities to hand in their rubbish.
TerraCycle founder Tom Szacky explains: “One of the tricks to garbage is to not think of it as garbage. It is just another raw material that needs to be transformed into something new.”
Join Amandeep Bhangu in New Jersey as she collects cigarette butts for recycling and visits a library whose users are benefitting from this recycling revolution.