A sixteen year old boy from Canada seems to have done what esteemed PhD‘s have not. He has managed to single handedly solve our growing plastic waste crisis. As most people know, plastic takes about 1,000 years until it begins to degrade. This is a growing problem due to the sheer quantity of plastic we have, high cost of destroying it and possible release of carcinogens into the environment.
What Daniel Burd, the sixteen year old has managed to do is find a natural solution to this growing problem. The key is that, although plastic takes 1,000 years to degrade it still degrades. This means that there is something out there that is breaking down the plastic. Daniel saw this and decided to see if he could utilise and breed whatever microbe it was decomposing plastic to work faster. He was successful in this endeavour and managed to achieve 43% degradation of plastic in just six weeks compared to the 1,000 years.
His simple method of just immersing ground plastic in a yeast solution that encourages microbial growth then isolating the productive microbes got the job done. Scientists with millions at their disposal to tackle this issue haven’t gotten close to what Daniel has discovered. With the disposal methods we have now to degrade plastic which are dangerous, costly and heavily reliant on the use of chemicals. Daniel’s discovery is an environmentalists dream come true with the solution being natural, low cost and non-toxic.
It goes without saying that although he has stumbled upon something quite extraordinary more testing needs to be done. And by testing I mean to see if the byproducts of the organisms decomposing plastic contains any carcinogens that may go into ecosystem.