Earlier this year researchers at Cambridge University and the Spanish National Research Council reported that they had identified a caterpillar, the larvae of the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella), that can eat plastic. Specifically, the caterpillar can ingest polyethylene which, along with the closely related polypropylene, is the main type of plastic found in waste.
Good news, right? Yes, but getting rid of the amount of plastic we're currently producing and dumping will take an awful lot of caterpillars.
Take a look at our world and how much of it is plastic. Like all those takeaway coffee cups, which environmentalists warn often contain a plastic lining that is likely to end up in landfill. Australians use an estimated one billion disposable coffee cups each year, while the UK gets through an estimated 2.5 billion.
Even though these estimates should be treated with some caution (reliable data simply isn't collected), it's clear we could give more thought to how we drink coffee.
Then there are the bottles, the pots, the plastic wrapped around fresh fruit and vegetables, and the plastic bags frozen fruit and vegetables come in. There are the yoghurt cartons, the dip containers, the plastic razors, the microbeads that add texture to skincare products. And all those children's toys, and those gadgets - the buttons on your smart television, your smart television itself, the keyboard, the computer mouse … Need we go on?