Plastic is a huge problem. Wouldn’t it be handy if something could just eat it all up? Well, turns out there’s a very small worm that does. The waxworm is a very unassuming larvae that can make its meals from our plastic waste.
Of course it didn’t start off eating empty bags. It mainly eats the waxy part of bee’s honeycombs which is not great for the bees. As far as the worm is concerned though, plastic waste and honeycomb wax are about the same.
The insect and its guts microbes work together to break down the plastic and scientists are hoping to learn how this works so they can use it on a larger scale to break down plastic. No, this insect won’t solve our plastic problem but the lessons we learn from it may go a long way in helping us overcome the waste.