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Eating Diapers to Save the Planet
by Jamie Frevele | 1:14 pm, April 26th, 2011
Sometimes, I think environmentalists get a bad rap for trying to tell us to change our less-than-environmentally-friendly habits. They’re only trying to keep the planet clean and not turn it into the garbage dump we had to evacuate in Wall-E. But now I understand why they get that bad rap: bad ideas. It has been discovered that one thing capable of breaking down the cellulose used to make disposable diapers (which takes forever to biodegrade) is a kind of mushroom. And one scientist is proposing that we grow those mushrooms in dirty diapers and eat them.
Oyster mushrooms, which are commonly eaten are usually grown in other forms of waste like coffee grounds, are able to break down the cellulose in diapers, so waste management expert Alethia Vázquez-Morillas of the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico started growing mushrooms in the diapers and, for some reason, ate them. And this is supposed to cut the biodegrading time down from hundreds of years to a few months. But we’d still have to eat mushrooms grown in used diapers. So there’s that.
The diapers in question were contaminated only with urine, and urine from a healthy person is sterile. For more heavy-duty stuff, the diapers would have to be steamed before they were turned over to the mushrooms for feasting.
Dear Science: Please stop being inspired by Saturday Night Live. They’re joking.
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