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Finally a way to recycle polystyrene

"Kevin O’Connor of University College Dublin and his colleagues heated polystyrene foam, the generic name for Styrofoam, to convert it to styrene oil. [...] the scientists fed this styrene oil to the soil bacteria Pseudomonas putida, which converted it into biodegradable plastic known as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates)." It's about time because 2.3 million tons of polystyrene foam (styrofoam) are dumped in US landfills each year, and over 14 million metric tons of the stuff are produced annually around the world. Since the foam is very light (95% air), 14 million tons takes up lots of volume.

If this is viable, how hard would it be to scale up? Or can someone make money from it? Because if they can, this will take off in a huge hurry. Maybe the local recycling authority will start taking the stuff, too. Oh, what bliss that would be.

Treehugger: Finally Something To Do With All That Styrofoam?


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