Researchers have found out that beetle larvae, also known as mealworms, are capable of eating certain types of plastics. They can grow up to more than 2 cm long and carry bacteria inside their stomach that can break down plastic. Around 3,000 to 4,000 worms are needed to eat a single coffee cup in one week. The mealworms then release half as carbon dioxide and some degraded particles outside their bodies.

Environmental pollution is one of the most important issues that the world is facing in this modern time. A report from The Pew Charitable Trusts has predicted that by 2040, plastic pollution could triple to 29 million metric tons annually, which is equal to 50 kilograms per meter of Earth’s shoreline. Plastics and bioplastics sustainability expert Anja Malawi Brandon mentioned that for mealworms to become a possible recycling solution, a system to collect and treat the wastes the mealworms released must be made. Brandon’s team is looking forward to this promising technology in fighting pollution.