Mealworms can help resolve pollution by eating plastic [2015/12/03 11:26]

Styrofoam, a plastic, releases dangerous pollution into the air when it gets recycled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is the fifth-largest creator of hazardous waste. What can be done to deal with this issue?

Scientists from the U.S. and China have discovered a possible solution in mealworms. One mealworm can digest a pill-sized amount of plastic every day. In 24 hours, the plastic is turned into carbon dioxide.

The study also found that worms eating Styrofoam were healthy.

The researchers will study the worm’s eating habits and look to duplicate the plastic breakdown on a larger scale.

Styrofoam is a light-weight material with very good insulation properties. It is used in a wide range of products, including cups that keep your drinks hot or cold and packaging material that protects items during shipping.

As landfill space is becoming limited, solving the issue of plastic pollution is important, scientists said.

About 33 million tons of plastic are thrown away in the U.S. every year. Plastic plates, cups and containers take up 25 percent to 30 percent of space in America’s landfills. One Styrofoam cup takes more than 1 million years to break down in a landfill.
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