People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They’re made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But the humble wax worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the caterpillar larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

Bertocchini, who works at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain, tells NPR that she was cleaning out the hive and put the worm-infested parts in a plastic bag.

But shortly afterward, she noticed that “they were all crawling around my place and the plastic bag was riddled with holes.”

The Lowly Wax Worm May Hold The Key To Biodegrading Plastic

Photo: Wayne Boo/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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In the future, your water bottles and other pieces of plastic could dissolve like sugar

  • Discarded plastic is seriously polluting all corners of our earth, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
  • But recent inroads in biodegradable versions of plastic may potentially reduce damage to our planet in the future, so long as the world adopts it.
  • Researchers at the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies in the U.K. developed plastic made from sugar and carbon dioxide, which could transform any polycarbonate-made item of the future. 
  • Polycarbonate is typically used for your average water bottle, CD or DVD, along with other objects such as phone screen protectors. Read more (6/14/17)

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Hunter x Hunter 2″ Clear Acrylic Keychains
NOW AVAILABLE ON ETSY!

Your options are: Gon, Killua, Kurapika, Leorio, Hisoka, or the full set (all five)! Each charm comes with a metal keychain and colored star bead. The reverse side of the charm is the same image as the front!

I got them printed through the lovely @acornpress, stellar quality and customer service. Thanks guys!

I have limited quantities of some of the star bead colors (like Kurapika’s red–I only have 15 stars, but 30 charms) so you MAY receive a different color if I run out. I will update the pictures asap when I do!

Thanks for looking!!

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3-D printed, movable trilobite model