Tag Archives: landfill microbes


Fungus Discovered in Rainforest Capable Of Eating Plastic Pollution

One of the biggest problems facing the earth, plastic pollution, could soon meet its match if students at Yale University are able to breed a recently discovered plastic-eating fungus on a large scale.

Plastic pollution, exemplified by the giant floating island of trash the size of Texas in the Pacific ocean, is highly detrimental to the world’s ecosystem because it breaks down extremely slow. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, plastic doesn’t actually biodegrade:

“Plastics do not biodegrade, although, under the influence of solar UV radiations, plastics do degrade and fragment into small particles, termed microplastics.”

This presents humans with a challenge that must soon be met, considering much of our plastic trash ends up in the ocean where it breaks down into toxic microplastics, winding up in sea life. Not only is this dangerous to the sea life, but it’s also dangerous to people because we end up consuming these very fish which we are poisoning with our trash.

Many groups and organizations have been formed to clean up plastic that ends up washing ashore on our beaches, but the vast majority of plastic pollution ends up in the ocean. The planet has a growing addiction to cheap and industrious plastic, increasing in use exponentially every year with no end in sight.

This is why the discovery of plastic-eating fungus is so exciting. According to Inhabitat,

On an expedition to the rainforest of Ecuador, students from Yale’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry discovered a previously unknown fungus that has a healthy appetite for polyurethane. According to Fast Company, the fungus is the first one that is known to survive on polyurethane alone, and it can do so in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, which suggests that it could be used at the bottom of landfills.

The discovery was published in the scientific journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers were also able to isolate the enzyme responsible for decomposing the plastic.

It isn’t exactly clear how this fungus will be implemented in bioremediation, but one can picture floating plastic islands covered in mushrooms which will eat the entire trash pile then sink into the ocean.

It’s also important to wean ourselves away from petroleum based plastics because they require many resources just to manufacture, and pollution doesn’t start or end with the trash in the gutter. Many other sustainable options are available which could used instead, like hemp based or other plant based plastics.

Original article by Nick Bernabe on 28 August, 2014 at 02:20 http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/fungus-discovered-rainforest-capable-eating-plastic-pollution.html

Plastic Bags get Recovered

I think that it is wonderful that stores will be reclaiming plastic bags from consumers. In this particular case I wonder if the bags will be recycled or what action will be taken. If single use bags must be biodegradable, depending on whether they can biodegrade in a landfill or biodegrade in a industrial compost consumers must be informed so the proper disposal method will be taken. Too often do consumers see the word biodegradable on a label and assume that if the product is thrown in the trash it will biodegrade. Products made with ENSO will definitely biodegrade in a landfill however PLA products must be taken to an industrial composting facility, if not they will just sit in a landfill like traditional plastic. As a consumer do you desire for more accurate labeling/claims on products? Have you ever been misinformed about a green product because of their marketing claims/labeling? If you have any examples please share them with me! If a store offered a program where you could return your bags would you take advantage of it? Check out the article, and let me know what you think in the comment box below!



Measure boosts plastic bag ban

August 27, 2011, 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The campaign to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags got a big boost after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill requiring the store owners to provide biodegradable plastic bags to customers.

To be known as the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011, House Bill 4840 is an initiative to address the impact of climate change.

Under the bill, stores are mandated to implement an in-store recovery program in which the customers can return the plastic bags they had used.

“The recovery system will lead citizens to exert effort and give their due share in protecting the environment by bringing used plastic bags to stores and commercial establishments which in turn shall provide the logistics for recovery of these plastic shopping bags,” Caloocan City Rep. Oscar Malapitan, the bill’s principal author, said

HB 4840 also provides that the bags must have a logo showing that they are biodegradable, with a printed note saying “lease return to any store for recycling.”

Under the measure, all business establishments shall have their own plastic bag recovery bins, which shall be visible and accessible to the customers.

For their part, the local government units (LGUs) shall be tasked to collect, recycle and dispose of all plastic bags recovered by the stores.

“The State must ensure that contaminants to the environment, such as plastic and plastic bags, be prevented from being introduced into the ecosystem,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who co-authored the bill, said.

It is expected that after the implementation of the HB 4840, there will be a phase out of non-biodegradable plastic bags within three years.