Crap — it’s so versatile! It can heat your house, fertilize your garden, and power the grid. And now creative types have squeezed another use out of this universal human product — turning it into a plastic that could take a load off our dependence on oil.
A group of recent grads from the University of California, Davis was sick of wasting human waste and was put out by the problems of plastic, and thus Micromidas, the plastic-from-poop company, was born. It works like this: Everybody poops, everybody flushes, and Micromidas scoops up the “sludge” at the bottom of the municipal wastestream to feed to its dream team of microbes. These microbes munch on the sewer sludge (unlike some other sewer-dwellers we know) and proceed to get fat and happy. The fat is then converted into a kind of polyester that Micromidas harvests. Over half of the stinky sludge gets used up and the bioplastic creation can be used in place of a variety of common petrochemical plastics, such as polypropylene.
What about the waste from this poo-plastic? Let me break it down for you: This stuff biodegrades in a year and a half and is nontoxic to the human body (after all, it should be well acquainted with it). Life in plastic could be fantastic … if this business can scale up.
The only question that remains is whether the idea came to these guys while on sitting on the throne.
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