The Plastic Problem. Do we have a solution? What do I do in the meantime?
Recently, we have been discussing the perils of plastics, but what if we didn't have to? Whether it be K-Cups, plastic bags, or aluminum can rings, all these plastic waste products put our environment, as well as our wildlife at peril but scientists may have recently found a solution.
This solution comes in the form of the wax worm. More specifically the enzyme found in the stomach of the wax worm (the larval stage of a type of moth). According to NatGeo’s Carrie Arnold, “That enzyme converted polyethylene into ethylene glycol, a chemical commonly used in antifreeze”. In layman speak the enzyme managed to break down plastic byproducts (in this case a plastic bag) into a useable resource.
While it seems a solution to our plastic problem may be on the horizon, it is still a long ways off and this particular avenue may not be the answer.
As marine biologist puts it,“Polyethylene is a high-quality resin that can be up-cycled in many ways and can fetch up to $500 per tonne,” he said in an email. “In my opinion, although this is an amazing natural history story and wonderful academic exercise, it is not a solution for disposing of polyethylene as this is throwing away money.”
Even if this new discovery is not the answer it is a step in the right direction, but since the solution to our plastic problem appears to still be a few years off, what can you do in the meantime? Here are five quick and easy ideas to help environment, that can also save you a few dollars!
- Use something besides plastic straws (obviously plastic, they have also been known to get lodged in sea turtles nostrils).
- Use reusable shopping bags.
- Ovoid buying frozen food (nearly always comes in plastic containers)
- GET A HYDROFLASK OR REUSABLE WATERBOTTLE! This wont just help save the environment but also save you a few bucks in the long run.
- Make your own condiments. This will limit your plastic usage as well as save money and in all honesty its very fun.