ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Worms Can End The Global Plastic Pollution Problem Once And For All

Updated on February 1, 2016

Worms – they are gross, absolutely repulsive and the least favorite creature to roam the earth. That being said, these little wranglers might just have the key to solving our biggest problem till date. Yes, meal worms can end the plastic pollution problem once and for all, one piece of plastic at a time.

Current Status of Plastic Pollution

Plastic is ending up in landfills, in the oceans and the soil. The scale of damage is quite large and it is getting harder to find a viable solution for overcoming the global plastic pollution problem. Plastic isn’t biodegradable. The more you waste plastic, the more harm you are causing to the environment. It has to stop right now.

Although people may find it difficult to do away with plastic completely, it is not impossible. Just try to spend one day without plastic and gradually you will be able to push this plastic-free period beyond 24 hours. Don’t expect the changes to come instantly because years of continuous usage has somehow made us dependent on plastic. So it is obvious that it will take time to get detached from it.

Mealworms are the Key to Fighting Plastic Pollution Globally

Stanford University researchers say styrofoam-eating mealworms could be a major game-changer in the fight against plastic pollution. This is because the worms feast on plastic and turn it into carbon dioxide and harmless organic waste. Now that is something which no recycling process available today or in the near future can achieve.

A collaborative study between Stanford University and Chinese researchers found that 100 of these mealworms, which are essentially baby beetles, could consume almost 40 milligrams of Styrofoam per day. This may not be a lot of plastic, but it is definitely a start. At least we know that plastic can be converted into harmless organic waste.

Although there are several “plastic-eating” bugs out there, this is probably the first time when scientists have confirmed that the waste produced after digesting plastic is organic and completely harmless. Plus, the worms get to enjoy a full meal and save the world at the same time. Captain Planet would be so proud of these creatures!

Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered the larvae can live on polystyrene. This was the first sign that plastic could be disposed and processed safely with the use of mealworms. The details of the study can be found in Environmental Science and Technology where the research has been published.

Wei said, “Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem.” This is a major breakthrough and the exact implications and scale of the findings are yet to be seen. However, it has provided concrete evidence to show that global plastic pollution can be solved.

Before you give the entire credit to mealworms, know that it is the bacteria in the intestines of these mealworms which degrade the plastic and convert it into harmless organic waste. Maybe getting the worms to process the plastic was the first step towards solving plastic pollution. It could be possible that the bacteria itself is used to directly process the plastic without having to use worms as the media. This is just one of the possible outcomes we may see in the time to come.

What People Are Saying About Plastic Eating Worms

How Can You Help To Reduce Plastic Pollution

Don’t expect mealworms to do all the work. Just because they are one solution to the growing plastic problem, you don’t have to be casual about using plastic. Stop using plastic as much as possible so that more waste is not produced. This is the best way you can help create a plastic-free world.

Get a reusable shopping bag for yourself so you don’t have to buy a plastic bag every time you go shopping. These bags come in stylish designs and they are easy to carry around. So there is absolutely no excuse for using a plastic bag again. Check out this amazing 5-star rated reusable shopping bag by CarryWell. It is the perfect addition to your shopping trips.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)