Styrofoam has been considered a non-biodegradable plastic until the recent study done at Stanford. The tiny worm, which is the larvae form of the darkling beetle, can subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene, according to two companion studies co-authored by Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. In the lab, 100 worms converted half the styro-foam into Carbon Dioxide, which is considered normal. Microorganisms in the worms’ guts biodegrade the plastic in the process – a surprising and hopeful finding.
Out of the 2.5 billions waste thrown a year, 33 million is plastic. Less than 10% is recycling meaning we have to find a solution to biodegradable plastic. Given that the worms were considered healthy after consuming Styrofoam, this could present hope to recycling plastic.