Trash-eating superworms could be Earth’s hero

A Tiny, Mighty Superworm Could Solve Our Waste Crisis… by Gobbling Up Mountains of Trash!

We are slowly burying ourselves under trash of our own creation. So far, it has looked like there weren’t many ways to dig ourselves out. But now we’re learning that our greatest ally in unburying ourselves might be a superworm! One of the worst villains in the trash crisis is polystyrene (commonly called styrofoam). As a petroleum-based product, this product is extremely difficult to recycle — and horrendous for our Earth. Plus, since it’s so rigid and dense, it takes up a lot of space, even after it’s thrown out! Research suggests styrofoam can take as many as 500 years to break down and decompose — time we do not have. Lucky for us, beetle larvae called zophobas morio can actually survive by eating polystyrene alone!

Of all the countries in the world, the U.S. is one of the most wasteful, accounting for almost 300 million tons of trash each year. This has gotten worse since the 1950s, when companies intentionally shifted towards single-use packaging and containers. That includes styrofoam takeout containers at restaurants, styrofoam cups for picnics, even styrofoam coolers, and much more. This all has to go somewhere — usually to landfills and the oceans, which causes increased pollution and other environmental problems! And so far, humans have had a hard time figuring out many alternatives. Enter: the superworm. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must team up with this little hero, and fund research about how these worms could help with waste management. Getting our waste crisis under control will help curb the climate crisis, improve human and wildlife health, and clear our beautiful Earth of the trash mountains that plague it. Sign the petition to tell the EPA it must invest in researching this amazing superworm to curb our waste crisis!

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