Food Forward Redirects 250 Million Pounds of Food from Landfills to Those in Need

Founded in 2009, LA-based non-profit Food Forward is celebrating a milestone achievement: redirecting 250 million pounds of food (about one billion servings) from landfills to communities facing food insecurity. This could not have happened without the organization’s nimble navigation of Southern California’s food distribution system. After saving fresh produce from predominately wholesale recovery programs, Food Forward stores it at their refrigerated Produce Pit Stop and …

Researchers Engineer an Enzyme that Eats Plastic Waste

Following similar developments in England and France, a team of scientists at The University of Texas at Austin created an enzyme variant that breaks down plastic with the potential to eliminate billions of tons of landfill. The enzyme—dubbed FAST-PETase—targets polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a polymer found in consumer packaging that makes up 12% of global waste. Researchers used a machine learning model to generate mutations of a …

Mealworms Might Be The Solution to Growing Landfills

An unlikely hero has been identified in the fight against the world’s growing landfill problem. As it turns out, mealworms (the crawly larvae found in many science classrooms) can safely and effectively digest styrofoam—the pervasive takeout container material found in countless restaurants. The discovery comes as a surprise to scientists, many of whom are now optimistic that a marine version of the mealworm exists—possibly leading …