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One way to get rid of Styrofoam: Feed it to mealworms

Yu Yang

One way to get rid of Styrofoam: Feed it to mealworms

The Styrofoam used in countless foam coffee cups and many kinds of packaging is an environmental problem because it isn’t economical to recycle and doesn’t break down easily in landfills. Now, scientists have discovered that mealworms will happily eat Styrofoam and digest this common packing material, NBC News reports. Bacteria in the mealworms’ guts convert nearly half of it to carbon dioxide and the rest into feces that could be used to enhance soil. The researchers are exploring whether the gut bacteria might be able to break down other kinds of tough plastics, such as the polypropylene in reusable food containers. Further work might lead to even stronger enzymes that can quickly biodegrade plastics. 

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