Imagine that the 30 million tons* of plastic Americans throw away each year didn't just build up in landfills, but instead was converted into nutrient rich fertilizer, prime for cultivating crops and encouraging reforestation. This fairy tale of turning plastics into fertilizer is becoming a reality.

In 2015, Scientists at Stanford partnered with researchers in China to find that the common mealworm is able to consume various kinds of plastics, without harming themselves, and pass waste that, like most animal waste, can be used as a fertilizer.

Imagine the implications for human dumping grounds. Using these tiny alchemists in mass to slowly transform tons of plastic waste into fertile land may seem like a pipe dream now, but with passion and research, this could be the future for our world's landfills. 

Photo by Yu Yang

Photo by Yu Yang

* The average American throws away 185lbs of plastic per year. There are currently over 300 million Americans in the world.