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Bag the Plastic
Forget building a volcano. Daniel Burd found inspiration for his high school science project after opening a kitchen cabinet and being hit by an avalanche of plastic bags. Not exactly the greenest thing to have in a home.
Burd wondered what the rest of the world was doing with these everyday objects that are said to take up to thousands of years to decompose. He started to experiment with the idea that plastic could be made to decompose more quickly. After three months of trials, he came up with a "solution." Burd mixed household chemicals, landfill dirt, yeast and tap water, and when applied to the ground-up bags (now a powder of plastic), it caused a significant amount of degradation over six weeks. Burd and his advisors hope to do further experiments to see if the solution could dissolve the bags completely.
Essentially, Burd created little bacteria buggers that are hungry for plastic! We know, this simple solution sounds so great, you might want to try it. While the ingredients are easy to find, the monitoring of microbes and temperature could turn into a full-time job. And, as commenters at Wired.com have noted, ground up plastic isn't cluttering our landfills—whole bags would take much longer to decompose.
Burd may or may not be on to something. For now, your best bet is to stock up on reusable grocery bags and stash them around your house or in your car so you don't forget to bring them with you to the market. [Wired]