One of the biggest environmental issues of our time is waste, plastic waste. While a straw ban will not help to solve the problem, people everywhere started to look for other solutions, methods, and ways they can reduce the usage of plastic and mitigate its effect on the environment.
We are working to find solutions for this globally growing problem. Whether by removing the plastic from the six-pack, handing out embarrassing labeled plastic bags, or using the power of a plastic-eating mutant (bacteria).
Well, one more awesome but strange discovery should be added to the list: A rare mushroom that eats plastic in the same way you and I would eat a Big Mac at Mcdonald’s.
The mushroom’s ability to devour plastic was first discovered in 2011, according to reports. While a team of undergraduates and their professor from Yale were on a research trip in Ecuador. They found Pestalotiopsis microspore, the mushroom that grows in the Amazon and they were astonished to find out that this fungus, not only can live feeding on polyurethane (the plant was the first to sustain itself only on plastic) but could do so without any oxygen.
Which means that the plant could be planted at the bottom of landfills, and can be left there feasting on plastic for years to come!
Despite the efforts spent to raise consciousness about the importance of waste reducing, it seems that the U.S, is still producing tons of plastic every year, and other reports based on studies declared that plastic waste recycling is declining by the day.
The amount of plastic waste we are producing is been estimated to be raised by 3.8% each year. With an estimation of 40 million tons of plastic waste which is expected to be generated in the year 2019 by the companies and the consumers in the U.S alone. National Geographic declared that over the past 60 years alone, we have generated an estimation of 8.3 billion metric tons of waste that is 100% plastic. While 83.7% of that plastic waste is expected to end up in landfills, any solution for the damage we’re causing to our beloved planet could really make a difference for us and for our environment.
Will these mushrooms be really the final solution for our plastic problems? Researches are still working on finding out. Until then, what we can do is help to keep our landfills cleaner by restricting the usage of single-use plastic in our daily lives.