WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags

Filed in Waste News by on May 31, 2008 2 Comments
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Daniel Burd - the brains behind the plastic eating microbe

by Karen Kawawada at The Record. May 22 2008.

Getting ordinary plastic bags to rot away like banana peels would be an environmental dream come true.

After all, we produce 500 billion a year worldwide and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. They take up space in landfills, litter our streets and parks, pollute the oceans and kill the animals that eat them.

Now a Waterloo teenager has found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster — in three months, he figures.

Daniel Burd’s project won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa. He came back with a long list of awards, including a $10,000 prize, a $20,000 scholarship, and recognition that he has found a practical way to help the environment. Daniel, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, got the idea for his project from everyday life.

“Almost every week I have to do chores and when I open the closet door, I have this avalanche of plastic bags falling on top of me,” he said. “One day, I got tired of it and I wanted to know what other people are doing with these plastic bags.”

The answer: not much. So he decided to do something himself. Read more

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    This is a very good topic which shows that individuals are setting the pace for change.
    Well done to Daniel for an excellent project. A home landfill kit, like a Bokashi?, would be an excellent way for the householder to reduce bin waste even further by processing all type of waste plastic. The sooner it is perfected the better.



  2. Mrs Green says:

    I love this story; I feel so inspired when I see ‘children’ (I hope Daniel won’t mind) taking such creative and forward – thinking initiative about a huge environmental problem.

    I’ll be following this story and wishing him every success…….

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading it too 🙂

    Mrs G x

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