Sunday, May 25, 2008

Plastic Bags, a thing of the past?

Shaun Saunders sends in an article from that has possible science fiction written all over it.

Daniel Burd, a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, a public high school in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, speculated on how to rid the Earth of plastic bags. Humans produce 500 billion a year worldwide and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Burd speculated that microbes must be behind the decomposition and set up experiments to isolate the culprit. After many experiments, Burd was not only able to isolated the microbe in question but concentrate them to such a degree that a plastic bag might take as little as six weeks to be broken down into simple compounds consisting of water and tiny levels of carbon dioxide. The truly amazing things is that Daniel used ordinary household chemicals, yeast and tap water to create a solution that would encourage microbe growth. Which should make replicating his methods on larger scales extremely easy. Industrial application should be easy, said Burd. "All you need is a fermenter . . . your growth medium, your microbes and your plastic bags."

No comments: