Organisms of Interest
- Waterbear (Tardigrades)
Aquaponics: Fish & edible vegetation: a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. http://aquaponicsphilippines.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Aquaponics-illustration.jpg
Plastic Degradation: Plodia interpunctella - A Chinese researcher, Jun Yang, found that plastic bags of millet in his pantry had small holes in them. Intrigued, he also found moths and moth larvae in the bags. Deducing that the hungry larvae must have digested the plastic somehow, he and his team analyzed their gut bacteria and found a few that could use plastic as their only carbon source. http://www.fondriest.com/news/discovery-plastic-eating-bacteria-may-speed-waste-reduction.htm
Insects (Hymenoptera) as Super Material: Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered a material so versatile that it can form solid objects, bend under pressure without breaking, easily float on water and even disperse into a liquid when something tries to pass through it. Unfortunately, this discovery is completely useless -- because this amazing super-material is made up entirely of fire ants. http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/02/fire-ants-can-act-as-an-organic-super-material-by-playing-dead/
Alt Sources of Paper Production
- Post-Consumer Waste. "Post-consumer waste" is the paper you throw out or recycle. Buying paper made from a high percentage of post-consumer waste helps reduce the number of trees needed to make paper "from scratch." It also saves energy and keeps paper out of the landfill.
- Hemp. Hemp produces its own natural pesticide, and grows so quickly it produces twice as much fiber per acre as pine. Hemp was originally banned in the United States because it comes from the same botanical species as marijuana (even though it cannot be smoked). Paper, clothing, and other materials made from hemp are increasingly available from many manufacturers in the U.S.; hemp continues to be grown in several countries around the world.
- Kenaf. Kenaf, a cousin to the cotton plant, uses 15-25% less energy than pine to make pulp.
- Bamboo. This fast-growing grass produces 4 to 5 times the fiber of the fastest-growing commercial tree species.
- Agri-Pulp. Agri-pulp combines agricultural waste along with post-consumer waste to make paper.
- Cotton. Another new paper option is made from organically grown cotton that grows in several colors, including green, brown, and white.