Plastic, and in particular plastic grocery bags, are a big environmental problem because of the huge time taken to degrade in the environment. A collection of plastic the size of a large country is currently floating in the gyres of the Pacific Ocean. Some plastic waste takes 1000 years to be broken down by nature.
Daniel Hurd, a 16 year old high school student from Canada, did a science project on microbes and isolated the bacteria that digests the plastic found in grocery bags and other packaging. By concentrating the solution, he found he was able to break down the plastic by up to 40% in just a week. In addition to winning plenty of local and national prizes, Daniel plans to develop his discovery to help get rid of the nasty disposable plastics problem… and ferment some freaky plastic beer in the process!
2 thoughts on “16 year old’s science project finds microbe that digests plastic bags”
Hey, give this boy a noble prize! 😀
“. A collection of plastic the size of a large country is currently floating in the gyres of the Pacific Ocean. Some plastic waste takes 1000 years to be broken down by nature.”
Plastic never decomposes, it just breaks down into smaller chemicals. And the gyre is not a floating island, the plastic is concentrated so much there that when samples are taken from the ocean you see something like a 60 plastic to 1 living organism ratio. That means…because of our plastic, we have changed the entire composition of our ocean. I really hope this works.
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