Few think twice about what to do with their disposable water bottle after they’ve drunk its contents, but environmentalists are aware that it is the entire eco-system which has to pay the price for misguided actions in the present.
Currently, Americans discard about 33.6 million tons of plastic each year. Only 6.5 percent of it is recycled and 7.7 percent is combusted in waste-to-energy facilities, which create electricity or heat from garbage. In result, there are a massive amount of non-biodegradable materials being tossed into landfills with a wait of about 1,000 years or so before they decompose. What’s worse, many of these materials may leak pollutants into the soil and water.
But thanks to a group of Yale students who discovered a new type of fungus in the Ecuadorian rainforest, a semi-solution may soon be available to help speed up the decomposition process of plastics sitting in landfills.
Students from Yale’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry discovered a previously unknown type of fungus that has a hearty appetite for polyurethane, a polymer that is used in everything from hard plastics to synthetic fibers.
More details can be found here: https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/05/27/newly-discovered-fungus-could-rid-landfills-of-plastics/