Can caterpillars eat away at our plastic problem?
On the topic of things that last a very long time, polyethylene (the most common plastic) takes hundreds of years to decay. That’s a problem because we produce about 80 million tons of it annually, and much ends up in landfills and oceans. Federica Bertocchini, a scientist in Spain, has observed that wax worms can digest plastic, leaving behind ethylene glycol (the main compound in antifreeze). The discovery aids the search for an enzyme we can produce at scale to address our plastics problem. | learn more