I. sakaiensis works by turning PET into another substance called MHET, and then it uses an additional enzyme to turn that into the basic components of PET. Additionally, the bacteria also gives us the option of turning the MHET into new PET material.
While that makes I. sakaiensis sound like some sort of miracle solution, there's still one big issue to work through: It takes forever. Scientists found that it took six weeks to eat through a thin layer of PET. But, naturally, they're also working on ways to speed up the process. They've already sequenced the bacteria's genome, which could lead to building stronger and faster strains.
In the end, it could end up being our most useful tool in our war against plastic. Scientists have already found worms and microbes that can also break down plastic, but they're not nearly as effective. There's also the vast amount of plastics out there that don't use PET, and which will require another method for destroying.