A Canadian student has hacked nature and figured out a way to compress a 1,000 year process down to 3 months. As a science fair project, 16-year-old Daniel Burd used a special blend of microbes to speed up the decomposition of polyethelene plastic bags. The inspiration for the project was borne out of his frustration with the rapidly accumulating bags in his house. The process is very simple, has little waste product and is expected to scale up.

Industrial application should be easy, said Burd. “All you need is a fermenter . . . your growth medium, your microbes and your plastic bags.”

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