Before you start reading, take a look around your room. How much plastic can you see?
Your laptop, most likely the swivel chair you’re sitting on, the pen you’re holding, your stationary folder, the wrapper from your lunchtime sandwich… the list goes on.
What happens to these items once they’re no longer useful?
An enormous number of the products we own, buy and throw away are made of plastic, and most of these plastic items are not biodegradable, which means that they don’t decompose or break down organically.
If you bury a shopping bag in your garden, your great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will be able to find it centuries later.
While it might be fun for them to laugh at your 2016 shopping list, plastic that lasts forever isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The issue with this is that plastic often contains chemicals which can be harmful to humans or animals. Over the years, plastic buried in water or surrounding natural habitats.
Researchers, environmentalists and scientists have been wrestling with this problem for years, but recently the future is looking a little bit brighter.
Earlier this month, researchers at Kyoto University in Japan claim to have found a potential solution to the problem of safe disposal of plastic.
They have identified a new type of bacteria called “ideonella sakaiensis” which feeds on a chemical called ‘polyethylene terephthalate’ – one of the key ingredients in all sorts of household plastic products!
Here’s the downside: it takes the bacteria a very long time to digest the plastic (almost six weeks for a very thin layer).
And the upside? Scientists are already working on a way to genetically engineer the bacteria to speed up their digestion.
If the idea of teeny-tiny bacteria munching down on your worn-out toothbrushes and unwanted plastic sandals isn’t for you, then you might prefer the sound of Asia’s pneumatic waste collection systems.
This is a fancy way of describing a pipe for rubbish, which carries waste directly out of cities or housing developments straight to a safe, hygienic waste disposal location.
Researchers and town planners have already implemented this technology in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, making it easier for people living in certain test areas to get rid of rubbish quickly and efficiently.
If you need a hand getting rid of any bulky items or household waste, but don’t have access to a waste disposal pipeline (lets face it, not many of us do!) then call Kwik Sweep on 0207 624 9215 to see what we can do for you.