Monday, March 26, 2012

Sorry, George: A Fungus Might Ruin Your Plastic Dream

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 2:00 PM

(The relevant bit is around the 5 minute mark, but do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing. Everyone deserves a Carlin break.)

So there may be hope for our groundwater after all!

According to Digital Journal, a team of Yale students found a rather particular variety of fungus during a trip to the Amazon as part of Yale's annual "Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory" that eats polyurethane — and on top of that, does so in oxygen-free environments. Like in our landfills.

Now, considering that it takes hundreds of years for plastics to degrade in landfills (some sources say 500 years, some say a thousand — we'll be safe and go with "a long ass time,") this is a potentially huge breakthrough.

All we need to know now is 1.) what does this fungus produce when it consumes plastics?; 2.) is said product potentially toxic?; and 3.) how can we contain this fungus so it doesn't end up consuming everything I hold near and dear to my electronics-loving heart?

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