What it is
Look around you, there are a lot of things made or packaged in plastic. So, don’t you ask yourself the question, where it goes when you throw it away? I sometimes do and I actually don’t know where it goes. Because recycling all the packaging materials is difficult and also very expensive, a lot of this plastic goes to landfills, in mostly poor lands, where nature may go it’s course. This is a process that will last for ages and also isn’t very healthy for the nature itself. Well, maybe researchers have found the solutions for this problem deep in the Amazon. Here lives a fungus which is able to degrade plastics! They can live in an environment without oxygen which means that they can break down plastic.
Why I think it is cool
Off course this would be an awesome solution for our plastic problem! So what I said before, these fungus don’t need oxygen to survive, which in itself, is very special because almost every organism on earth needs oxygen to live. This makes it possible that this fungus can break down plastic in an environmentally friendly way. This is obviously a great discovery. With influences of human hands, such as modifications or enchantments of this special ability of the fungus, maybe something can be developed what is an environmental friendly process of degradation of plastics! This is called ‘learning from nature’ which often has to do with biomimetic (technological developments derived from natural phenomena).
When we are capable of using this fungus to decrease our plastic ‘garbage’ , we can give those landfills (which are a lot) back to nature. Also it would obviously be better for the environment. And last but not least. We wouldn’t have to ask our self the question, what happens with our plastic garbage?
This is the point where we arrive at transparency. A lot of products in, especially, supermarkets and other shops that sell food factory, are made of plastic. And every day, a lot of this plastic is thrown away. More than you could ever imagine. So, we know that we throw away a lot of plastic, which is really bad for the nature, but we won’t do anything about it because we ‘need’ those products, which ‘happens to be packaged’ in plastic. My point is, we don’t consciously think about this problem while it is definitely there! So when this fungus can help us with this problem, we don’t have to feel guilty about buying packaged food and we also exactly know where are garbage will go. This is in my opinion a great value.
Not to spoil the fun but the one big question is; will this fungus have a future outside the rainforest? Because it is only found in the Amazon we won’t know yet if it will survive in another environment.