Worms that can eat plastic could save us from destroying the planet.

You tell me what’s more abominable: A Styrofoam cup laying on the ground…

Photo by jnyemb/ Flickr

…or a stilt of slimy, pulsing mealworms?

Photo by OakleyOriginals/ Flickr

Wait! Before you react, what if it was more than simply one fragment of Styrofoam like 33 million tons of it ?

And what if it wasn’t really cups, but Styrofoam packaging, water bottles, and all different kinds of disposed plastic?

And what if it wasn’t strewn from all the regions of the grass, but instead dropped into one massive excavation? Or worse, what if a cluster of it was just hovering in the ocean, waiting to be swallowed up by some forlorn ocean being?

When you kept it like that, the answer seems pretty obvious .

Yuck. Photo by Pascal Pochard Casabianca/ AFP/ Getty Images.

But here’s something new and surprising: Those wiggly little mealworms might just be the key to defending plastic pollution all over the world.

Likenes by Kitty Curran/ Upworthy.

Hour for us to fess up: We, as a species, are not very good at recycling.

In the United States alone, every year we throw away about 33 million tons of plastic garbage( including Styrofoam, which is basically fluffy plastic ), with less than 10% of it being recycled suitably.

Now, it’s not all our glitch. Modern recycling skills have come a long way, but they aren’t excellent. According to Popular Mechanics, information like the ones used to stir soda bottles can only be recycled( or “downcycled” into lesser makes) so many times.

That entails, one space or another, most of it will end up in a landfill eventually, where it could make centuries to biodegrade.

But it looks like we might be onto an amazing, if slightly unappetizing, mixture.

Researchers only discovered that mealworms can eat nothing but Styrofoam, roll it into biodegradable snake poo, and get all the nutrition they need.

This is huge.

A collaborative subject between Stanford University and Chinese investigates found that 100 of these mealworms, which are essentially baby beetles, could consume roughly 40 milligrams of Styrofoam per daytime. Now, that’s not a good deal( it makes 453,592 milligrams to equal one pound ), but the implications are often, much larger.

There are plenty of bugs out there that eat plastic, but this is the first time investigates have confirmed that what comes out the, er, other aspiration is, in fact, naturally occurring. And even better? Eating the stuff doesn’t harm the insects in the least.

Epitome by Kitty Curran/ Upworthy.

In other words, something supernatural is going on inside these mealworms that causes them divert hazardous plastic into harmless organic waste.

Analyse the chemical surrounding within the mealworms’ nerve that induces this possible might lead to better recycling procedures.

When I first read about this, I supposed government officials unleashing hoards of mealworms on our landfills for an epic buffet, but regrettably, that doesn’t seem super probable recollect, they feed truly, really slowly.

But what if we could mimic the mechanisms inside their guts that break down the plastic? If we could just recreate that medium on a larger magnitude, we wouldn’t are now working so difficult softening down bottles and switching them back into new bottles.

We could just transform them into the equivalent of louse poo, which the researchers articulate can serve as soil and is totally safe for the Earth .

But you know what? Nothing of this will matter if we don’t was better at sorting our litter and recycling the things that is to be recycled.

I never envisioned I’d say this, but if we work together with the mealworms, we really can make a difference.

Read more: http :// www.upworthy.com /~ ATAGEND

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