Diapers are up there with styrofoam when it comes to things that last forever in landfills. Surveys of landfills have estimated that it takes hundreds of years for them to break down and when billions are thrown away each year in the U.S. alone, you've got quite a large mess. A few countries have started diaper recycling plants, but most of the world's dirties get thrown in the trash.
Amazingly, the solution may be in your stir fry. Alethia Vázquez-Morillas, a scientist at Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City, has found that oyster mushrooms can break down 90 percent of the material in the poop catchers in only two months, and in four months, break them down completely. And you can still eat the mushrooms, though you may not want to.
Diapers take forever to degrade because their main ingredient is cellulose, which hangs around for quite a while. The oyster mushrooms have enzymes that break down cellulose, which serves them well when they grow on dead trees or other plant material in the wild. So, when grown on soiled diapers full of cellulose, the mushrooms just do their job. Better-than-plastic packaging and now diaper disposal -- is there anything mushrooms can't do?
Dr. Vázquez-Morillas says the mushrooms used in their experiments were still safe to eat because the diapers were treated with steam first to kill any bacteria, though in this particular application, I imagine people would be most interested with the fact that the mushrooms get rid of diaper waste and not really care whether they were edible afterward.
via The Economist
written by Alexander van Nek, June 02, 2011
written by Energy conservation, September 02, 2011
|< Prev||Next >|