The persistence of plastic pollution is a huge challenge globally. Hope for solutions is now possible due to research showing that two of the most persistent plastics - polystyrene and polyethylene undergo rapid microbial degradation in the guts of mealworms. This EVP team has discovered that the process can be further accelerated when mealworms are also food wastes. This project seeks to leverage these discoveries by developing new methods for plastic waste management and resource recovery using insects to degrade plastics. Expected outcomes are new resource recovery options for remediation of plastic wastes and generation of valuable biomass and fertilizer products.
Craig Criddle Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Robert Waymouth Professor of Chemistry