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Mealworms Eating Styrofoam?

 
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Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered the larvae can live on polystyrene.  


To answer one or two of the questions above. So not all plastic foam is the same. results with different packaging will probably vary.
 
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I absolutely love this idea. Explorations of the restorative power of nature is one of my primary driving forces in permaculture, and I'm super thankful for Permies for that.

Semi-related: I had dinner with a friend in R&D last night who is developing biodegradable packaging from unfruiting mycelium. His method involves 3D-printing a custom-shaped mold and letting the mycelium grow to fill the mold. He then bakes the mycelium to harden it, and you have a form-fitting package that can be composted, or even crumbled and used as mulch.

I can imagine a mycelium styrofoam substitute being a super-nommy snack for mealworms.
 
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Interesting thread.

Have any of you put Styrofoam in your mealworm bin?
 
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I just joined the site in part because I found this discussion. I've been interested in a more responsible way to dispose of old foam.  I know this is an old thread but I have been researching the topic. You folks should know that I found a 2019 article that tells us about the health of the worms over time, and about where at least one nasty substance in the foam goes when they digest it.  The mealworms seem to be fine after living on the stuff and the researchers claim the worms are safe to use as feed.

I think they'd need a multi-generation genetic / genomic assay for about 20 generations to be able to state that firmly, but it is still early days.  Then again I know people who reliably react to tiny amounts of substances.

Here is a quote from the linked article :

What chemical did they track


Brandon, Wu and their colleagues looked at Styrofoam or polystyrene, a common plastic typically used for packaging and insulation, that is costly to recycle because of its low density and bulkiness. It contained a flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane, or HBCD, that is commonly added to polystyrene. The additive is one of many used to improve plastics' manufacturing properties or decrease flammability. In 2015 alone, nearly 25 million metric tons of these chemicals were added to plastics, according to various studies. Some, such as HBCD, can have significant health and environmental impacts, ranging from endocrine disruption to neurotoxicity. Because of this, the European Union plans to ban HBCD, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating its risk.



And what did they find out

Mealworms in the experiment excreted about half of the polystyrene they consumed as tiny, partially degraded fragments and the other half as carbon dioxide. With it, they excreted the HBCD—about 90 percent within 24 hours of consumption and essentially all of it after 48 hours. Mealworms fed a steady diet of HBCD-laden polystyrene were as healthy as those eating a normal diet. The same was true of shrimp fed a steady diet of the HBCD-ingesting mealworms and their counterparts on a normal diet. The plastic in the mealworms' guts likely played an important role in concentrating and removing the HBCD.

The researchers acknowledge that mealworm-excreted HBCD still poses a hazard




I don't think any of us want to concentrate every questionable substance in the foam into the mealworm frass that we would like to use on our gardens.


https://phys.org/news/2019-12-mealworms-plastic-solution.html



 
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Wow, Ken, thanks for tracking that down!

I was suspicious that though the styrofoam "disappeared" it was still intact in tinier pieces, which the study you posted seemed to confirm.  

One thing a person with time and inclination could do would be to take the post meal worm styrofoam, and train a fungus to break it down.  That might be a true transformation of the styrofoam into something better suited to be in the world... maybe even cut out the mealworm middleman.!  Fungi are in the business of making enzymes that break down substances into food sources.

Maybe we could get Paul Stamets on that!
 
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I'm coming to this conversation a little late.  But hey, perennial discussion, right?

My mom has had the same group of mealworms propagating and consuming styrofoam since March 2015.  It's currently Setember, 2020, and the bugs are still doing their thing.

I've created a new thread (wiki-able, I believe) with some pictures we've taken over the years:

https://permies.com/t/149177/ungarbage/Mealworms-Darkling-Diaries#1164725



 
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Didn't see the recent comments for some reason, so updated.

Interesting to see that it's being done.

So, just an update to this thread, it appears that material used to test had hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD, which is a flame-retardant) which cannot be used safely, since it all comes out of the little varmints and is hazardous.  Curiously Styrofoam (insert TM here) products did not contain HBCD, therefore potentially could be used as feed, though they do reference other additives. I don't know how easy it is to identify products without HBCD either.

Quote: "While hopeful for mealworm-derived solutions to the world’s plastic waste crisis, they caution that lasting answers will only come in the form of biodegradable plastic replacement materials and reduced reliance on single-use products."

I don't have enough confidence that the process is "clean" enough at this point, but worth watching.

https://news.stanford.edu/2019/12/19/mealworms-provide-plastic-solution/
For the picture: https://125.stanford.edu/as-global-waste-accumulates-plastic-eating-worms-may-offer-solution/

Another article:
https://news.wsu.edu/2020/08/25/styrofoam-eating-mealworms-safe-dinner/
The cool thing is that it received some business interest, so maybe they can work out the issues.

My belief is while we should always be getting better with minimizing packaging and ensuring we're pushing the envelope for biodegradable (or better, meaning it can be used for something natural immediately), we will find ways to resolve/reuse the hazardous wastes that have accumulated. This includes the plastics that right now pervade the environment. So, while my eyes are mostly opened to the risk, I'm still optimistic we will do better. We are the foundation of the will and hope for the future.

 
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Ryan Skinner wrote:You bring up a good point.

The beauty of the mealworm thing lies in accessibility i think.... As well as scale. I don't think you would be taking care of a large storage container of styro with mealworms. But that styrofoam cup that you found that blew in to your yard or the random square of stuff that came in that thing that you ordered from amazon you can throw that to the mealworms and it probably takes them a month or longer to consume it.  

But to your point... Sounds like I would be better throwing this in to the trash for it to be a carbon storage medium in the landfill rather than releasing the carbon through the mealworm digestion. It is a good point. I will have to chew on that for a while. I don't want to do bad while trying to do more good.



I see this is an old post but I’m interested. You bring up a conundrum in my mind about not wanting to do bad while trying to do good.

Is burning “burnable” garbage really any better than stuffing it into a landfill? My wife and I were talking about this and agreed that burning anything isn’t good for the atmosphere, and by letting some of those carbon sources, and maybe even compostables, into a landfill, maybe the native fungi and bacteria would use it all as a food source and help break down the whole works more efficiently. Seems to me like a landfill full of inorganic materials with no food waste and no carbon soirces would degrade way more slowly than a landfill with mixed food waste, plastic, papers and whatever else.

Just a thought... I really dont think there is a “right” answer.
 
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I will take time to read your post in a minute but I hear that we are to recycle and repurpose plastic containers.
In fact I hear that cities around the country we might be trying a Garbage conveyor schute from places only use smaller dumpsters so that workers can sort the different waste materials. Instead of dumping it all at the landfill.

Also, the U.S.A. is supposed to start up in vacant stripmall stores a place called "the repurpose stores" for any containers that are appealing to use at home after the product is gone from the containers and recycle a collection of tissue paper and paper towel tubes that get sent back to the paper factory for replacement paper.
possibly near every Walmart.

 
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:yeah, hard to know.  One thing I've noticed is a trend in packing peanuts/ aka ghost turds.  some are still styrofoam, but more and more are using the weird disintegrating stuff that ?is made of potato starch?  that stuff sort of melts in water so it is not hard to identify.

The packing peanuts that are biodegradable are made from cornstarch or wheat; found a link for a science experiment for kids: https://www.iowaagliteracy.org/Article/Biodegradable-Packing-Peanuts

 
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Brody Ekberg wrote:

Ryan Skinner wrote:You bring up a good point.

The beauty of the mealworm thing lies in accessibility i think.... As well as scale. I don't think you would be taking care of a large storage container of styro with mealworms. But that styrofoam cup that you found that blew in to your yard or the random square of stuff that came in that thing that you ordered from amazon you can throw that to the mealworms and it probably takes them a month or longer to consume it.  

But to your point... Sounds like I would be better throwing this in to the trash for it to be a carbon storage medium in the landfill rather than releasing the carbon through the mealworm digestion. It is a good point. I will have to chew on that for a while. I don't want to do bad while trying to do more good.



I see this is an old post but I’m interested. You bring up a conundrum in my mind about not wanting to do bad while trying to do good.

Is burning “burnable” garbage really any better than stuffing it into a landfill? My wife and I were talking about this and agreed that burning anything isn’t good for the atmosphere, and by letting some of those carbon sources, and maybe even compostables, into a landfill, maybe the native fungi and bacteria would use it all as a food source and help break down the whole works more efficiently. Seems to me like a landfill full of inorganic materials with no food waste and no carbon sources would degrade way more slowly than a landfill with mixed food waste, plastic, papers and whatever else.

Just a thought... I really dont think there is a “right” answer.



Brody, yes, it takes a log time for that  to degrade; in fact, there's a  huge mound? hill? here outside of Dallas that has all of these odd looking pipes  dotted around on it; its part of the landfill; the pipes are sunk in at intervals to release the gases that build up from  all of that degrading, buried underneath soil and a very  vigorous growth of grasses; some of those pipes have a small flame that  you can see at times, and some don't; and there are also  different meters that measure just what is in those gases as well.

The thing is, we can't keep doing that....because some of what is in that mound will not finish breaking down for hundreds of years....
 
Brody Ekberg
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Kim Huse wrote:

Brody Ekberg wrote:

Ryan Skinner wrote:



Brody, yes, it takes a log time for that  to degrade; in fact, there's a  huge mound? hill? here outside of Dallas that has all of these odd looking pipes  dotted around on it; its part of the landfill; the pipes are sunk in at intervals to release the gases that build up from  all of that degrading, buried underneath soil and a very  vigorous growth of grasses; some of those pipes have a small flame that  you can see at times, and some don't; and there are also  different meters that measure just what is in those gases as well.

The thing is, we can't keep doing that....because some of what is in that mound will not finish breaking down for hundreds of years....



I’ve read that greenhouse gasses escaping from landfills contributes more to climate change than traffic does.

And I agree that we can’t keep burying garbage in landfill. Reusing, recycling and most importantly, lifestyle changes (not partaking in these products) are the only way out. But until global systems change, there will still be plastic, glass, styrofoam and whatever other inanimate objects in that we use and abuse being tossed into a landfill. I’m just curious if it would be better to include some organic matter with all of that, as a sort of “starter” or if it wouldn’t make big enough a difference and we should just continue composting that stuff instead. Although, compost releases greenhouse gasses as well, so there’s no t truly “clean” way out.

 
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Brody Ekberg wrote:

I’m just curious if it would be better to include some organic matter with all of that, as a sort of “starter” or if it wouldn’t make big enough a difference and we should just continue composting that stuff instead. Although, compost releases greenhouse gasses as well, so there’s no t truly “clean” way out.

I know that the landfill in our area actually harvests the methane (which is a particular "baddie" in the atmosphere) and were turning it into electricity. The system was originally largely paid for by a local business park as a "Green Initiative" however apparently the equipment is now too old to do its job and they're talking about selling the methane to a local Natural Gas Company instead.

A chunk of this issue is that many of the potential solutions to the "garbage problem" costs a pile of money, and usually only solves part of the issue leaving other pollutants to freak out the locals [not an unjustified reaction considering the cover-ups that created things like Love Canal ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal )] Many of the old dumps would be costly to upgrade. No one wants a new dump in their neighborhood. Many people have no good way to avoid generating tons of garbage in a society that is dependent on big business economy such as only 1 or 2 plants making the ketchup for all of North America, rather than small, local companies producing at a more human scale. If we went to the local butcher for our meat, styrofoam meat trays wouldn't be needed, but they no longer use "wax paper" but rather plasticized paper, so are we any further ahead? Even as a fairly well educated consumer, it hurts my head trying to figure out how to manage based on "best practices" and how to even find out whether you have truly "wax paper" (finger nail test - wax should scrape off - this type is available and *is* compostable) or the plastic version which is land-fill (https://www.ecocycle.org/files/pdfs/guidelines/ecocycle_compostable-products-guidelines_web.pdf)

Ultimately, the best short-term approach I've managed is to "use less". By growing and processing locally, and doing one's best to use short cycle energy sources (think wood heat from coppiced wood) and growing lots of trees anywhere we can and building healthy soil, we can try to be part of the solution.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:

Ultimately, the best short-term approach I've managed is to "use less". By growing and processing locally, and doing one's best to use short cycle energy sources (think wood heat from coppiced wood) and growing lots of trees anywhere we can and building healthy soil, we can try to be part of the solution.



I totally agree that using less is the only way to for sure make a difference. I liken it to realizing you’re speeding straight ahead but the bridge is out. What do you do? Turn? Speed up? Hope there’s a ramp? No, you slam on the brakes and reassess the situation. As a society, i think the best thing we can do is stop causing the problems in the first place, instead of trying to come up with fancy complicated solutions. Nature will fix a lot of our mess in time, so long as we stop making the mess bigger.
 
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Ken Linder wrote:I just joined the site in part because I found this discussion. I've been interested in a more responsible way to dispose of old foam.  I know this is an old thread but I have been researching the topic. You folks should know that I found a 2019 article that tells us about the health of the worms over time, and about where at least one nasty substance in the foam goes when they digest it.  The mealworms seem to be fine after living on the stuff and the researchers claim the worms are safe to use as feed.

I think they'd need a multi-generation genetic / genomic assay for about 20 generations to be able to state that firmly, but it is still early days.  Then again I know people who reliably react to tiny amounts of substances.

Here is a quote from the linked article :

What chemical did they track


Brandon, Wu and their colleagues looked at Styrofoam or polystyrene, a common plastic typically used for packaging and insulation, that is costly to recycle because of its low density and bulkiness. It contained a flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane, or HBCD, that is commonly added to polystyrene. The additive is one of many used to improve plastics' manufacturing properties or decrease flammability. In 2015 alone, nearly 25 million metric tons of these chemicals were added to plastics, according to various studies. Some, such as HBCD, can have significant health and environmental impacts, ranging from endocrine disruption to neurotoxicity. Because of this, the European Union plans to ban HBCD, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating its risk.



And what did they find out

Mealworms in the experiment excreted about half of the polystyrene they consumed as tiny, partially degraded fragments and the other half as carbon dioxide. With it, they excreted the HBCD—about 90 percent within 24 hours of consumption and essentially all of it after 48 hours. Mealworms fed a steady diet of HBCD-laden polystyrene were as healthy as those eating a normal diet. The same was true of shrimp fed a steady diet of the HBCD-ingesting mealworms and their counterparts on a normal diet. The plastic in the mealworms' guts likely played an important role in concentrating and removing the HBCD.

The researchers acknowledge that mealworm-excreted HBCD still poses a hazard




I don't think any of us want to concentrate every questionable substance in the foam into the mealworm frass that we would like to use on our gardens.


https://phys.org/news/2019-12-mealworms-plastic-solution.html





I was looking this up and apparently it is possible to bio-remediate HBCD:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389419307861

In this study, HBCDs (α-, β- and γ-HBCD) degrading strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa HS9 was isolated, identified, and characterized. The strain HS9 could remove 69% (± 0.05%) of 1.7 mg/L HBCDs in 14 days. Based on identification of metabolites, this bacterium could oxidize HBCDs by two pathways. In the first, HBCDs are sequentially debromized to tetrabromocyclododecene, dibromocyclododecadiene, and then debromized once more to cis, trans, trans-1, 5, 9-cyclododecatriene (CDT). After that, CDT is then oxidized to 1,2-epoxy-5,9-cyclododecadiene. The second identified pathway is a simultaneous debrominating and hydroxylating process based on the detection of 2,5,6,9,10-pentabromocyclododecanols, which were newly identified. The strain’s effects on plant-maize growth were tested and bioremediation evaluation trials were performed. The addition of strain HS9 could decrease HBCDs of 4.08 mg/g (87.6% removed) and 0.1 mg/g (25% removed) in soil and plants, respectively.



https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S004565352100014X

Highlights

• Three Bacillus strains can degrade HBCD within a half-live of 0.91–1.34 day.
• Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis species complex were identified.
• B. cereus efficiently degraded HBCD at 35 °C, pH 7.0, and 0.10 ppm HBCD.
• The fungi we examined can remove HBCD quickly by sorption.
• The debromination is the main mechanism for B. cereus to degrade HBCD.



The solution to composting styrofoams would thus probably be a multi-step approach. It seems the mealworms themselves can be safely used as feed, but the frass would have to be cultured with various other bacteria and fungi before it could be applied to plants.
 
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Patrick Marchand wrote:

Ken Linder wrote:I just joined the site in part because I found this discussion. I've been interested in a more responsible way to dispose of old foam.  I know this is an old thread but I have been researching the topic. You folks should know that I found a 2019 article that tells us about the health of the worms over time, and about where at least one nasty substance in the foam goes when they digest it.  The mealworms seem to be fine after living on the stuff and the researchers claim the worms are safe to use as feed.

I think they'd need a multi-generation genetic / genomic assay for about 20 generations to be able to state that firmly, but it is still early days.  Then again I know people who reliably react to tiny amounts of substances.

Here is a quote from the linked article :

What chemical did they track


Brandon, Wu and their colleagues looked at Styrofoam or polystyrene, a common plastic typically used for packaging and insulation, that is costly to recycle because of its low density and bulkiness. It contained a flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane, or HBCD, that is commonly added to polystyrene. The additive is one of many used to improve plastics' manufacturing properties or decrease flammability. In 2015 alone, nearly 25 million metric tons of these chemicals were added to plastics, according to various studies. Some, such as HBCD, can have significant health and environmental impacts, ranging from endocrine disruption to neurotoxicity. Because of this, the European Union plans to ban HBCD, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating its risk.



And what did they find out

Mealworms in the experiment excreted about half of the polystyrene they consumed as tiny, partially degraded fragments and the other half as carbon dioxide. With it, they excreted the HBCD—about 90 percent within 24 hours of consumption and essentially all of it after 48 hours. Mealworms fed a steady diet of HBCD-laden polystyrene were as healthy as those eating a normal diet. The same was true of shrimp fed a steady diet of the HBCD-ingesting mealworms and their counterparts on a normal diet. The plastic in the mealworms' guts likely played an important role in concentrating and removing the HBCD.

The researchers acknowledge that mealworm-excreted HBCD still poses a hazard




I don't think any of us want to concentrate every questionable substance in the foam into the mealworm frass that we would like to use on our gardens.


https://phys.org/news/2019-12-mealworms-plastic-solution.html





I was looking this up and apparently it is possible to bio-remediate HBCD:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389419307861

In this study, HBCDs (α-, β- and γ-HBCD) degrading strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa HS9 was isolated, identified, and characterized. The strain HS9 could remove 69% (± 0.05%) of 1.7 mg/L HBCDs in 14 days. Based on identification of metabolites, this bacterium could oxidize HBCDs by two pathways. In the first, HBCDs are sequentially debromized to tetrabromocyclododecene, dibromocyclododecadiene, and then debromized once more to cis, trans, trans-1, 5, 9-cyclododecatriene (CDT). After that, CDT is then oxidized to 1,2-epoxy-5,9-cyclododecadiene. The second identified pathway is a simultaneous debrominating and hydroxylating process based on the detection of 2,5,6,9,10-pentabromocyclododecanols, which were newly identified. The strain’s effects on plant-maize growth were tested and bioremediation evaluation trials were performed. The addition of strain HS9 could decrease HBCDs of 4.08 mg/g (87.6% removed) and 0.1 mg/g (25% removed) in soil and plants, respectively.



https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S004565352100014X

Highlights

• Three Bacillus strains can degrade HBCD within a half-live of 0.91–1.34 day.
• Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis species complex were identified.
• B. cereus efficiently degraded HBCD at 35 °C, pH 7.0, and 0.10 ppm HBCD.
• The fungi we examined can remove HBCD quickly by sorption.
• The debromination is the main mechanism for B. cereus to degrade HBCD.



The solution to composting styrofoams would thus probably be a multi-step approach. It seems the mealworms themselves can be safely used as feed, but the frass would have to be cultured with various other bacteria and fungi before it could be applied to plants.



Interesting; but, what about the  output from the, what is basically a fermentation process, of the  mealworm frass?  What happens when those  chemicals used, need to be  disposed of/recycled?  

 
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Kim Huse wrote:

Interesting; but, what about the  output from the, what is basically a fermentation process, of the  mealworm frass?  What happens when those  chemicals used, need to be  disposed of/recycled?

I searched HBCD and it's formula is C12H18Br6. So once you strip the Bromide out you're left with carbon and hydrogen which aren't a problem. A quick search about bromide and farmland suggests like with all things, the dose makes the poison. So long as you're not doing this on an industrial scale, it apparently doesn't hurt plants or water. I suspect if you wanted to do it on a large scale, you're going to want to try to capture the bromide somehow and sell it back into the industrial stream - at least that way they won't be harvesting more from the wild - the mining industry is one of the most environmentally nasty ones going, so the less they mine, the better off we are.
 
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There is never any 'truly clean' way out.

On a side note, and case in  point, I remember someone saying, an expert, no less, when it comes to recycling, reducing, reusing, and it was on the  electric cars, which were just hitting the market at that time ( this was several years ago) and the  person covering the story asked the expert if the electric cars were really going to make a difference, and  that expert says " You have to realize, no matter what  it is in our lives, Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, starts with oil. Oil makes gas, which powers  vehicles. taken in that context, Oil is the main resource that we can not do without; it starts everything."  

Everything comes with its own unique  challenges for reusing/recycling;  You will not see  electric big rigs because of  the batteries to run those big rigs. Our battery efficiency leaves a lot to be desired.  Even the most efficient battery to run an electric car still takes up the entire back underlayment, if not more, under the trunk and back seats,, if it has them, of those cars; and the weight is  often more than half the weight total of the entire car. The cost is terrible as well; if you need to replace those batteries?  over half the cost of the new price of that car, and  they start to  play out in 10 years, which is half the lifetime of the car so far, or thats the information I read when investigating them a few years ago.  Because of these limits, electric big rigs will not be an efficient means of moving products, ever, really. Now, at the end of its life span,  once we pull the  bits out of  them that can be actually recycled/reclaimed/reused, then where does the rest of it go? Will it go into a boneyard, like the huge wind propeller blades, that  can not be recycled because the material is not recyclable, and they will take millions of years to decompose,  go to up in, oh man, the name of the state escapes me right now, because those components are otherwise too dangerous or have no value to be recycled at all?.

A 300 mile range for an electric semi is base price, 150,000.00; 500 miles,  base price, 180,000.00; a regular semi, base price, 75.000.00; the difference here is that that regular semi, besides being cheaper at base price, can go coast to coast, approx somewhere between 2500 to 3500 miles; that truck has to fill up a  200 gallon tank at least once on a single trip ; an electric run semi would need to have a recharge after a half days run in moist cities, and in some states, literally would not get out of the state without at least 2 or 3 recharges. On the road, it would have to recharge 5 times on a 2500 mile run, 7 on a 3500 mile run.  2.5 to 3.5 hours down for recharge, plus 8 hours overnights as is mandatory for truckers to rest.

Both of those are ONE WAY for each of those examples, now, that means, of course, the  regular semi is going to  have to fill up at least once on the way back across country, and  the  electric one, 10 10 14 times. And what's the down time on those recharges? 30 minutes for an 80% charge; and that will go down in efficiency as the batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. And electric semi's battery lifetime is a only million miles.

And what about the electricity that comes from those charging stations? where is it coming from? Either coal  or oil; a wee bit  from solar or wind farms; but over 80% is STILL coming from oil in some form; and burning what needs to be burned to get  that electricity, is  giving off the pollutants into the environment. In about 5 years, I look to see a report that the emissions for  supplying  electricity to the recharge stations is at least as high as a regular gas burning vehicle puts out over a year's time. that little solar panel attached to the recharge station, that I have seen, is enough to supply  energy overnight for the light inside the  LCD screen, it adds extremely Little to the over all power available for recharging; at only around 75% of efficiency, or somewhere in that neighborhood, you would need a whole city blocks worth of solar panels to provide enough recharge power for one small  personal electric vehicle; and  it would be what, 5 times that to even come close to a recharge for an electric semi? I am guesstimating the last bit there.

Most truckers refuel, eat, go to the restroom, get back on the road, average an hour; downtime will be at least 8 hours  to rest , but by that time, they are halfway across the country, usually. And their trucks are going to last 10 to 15 years with the original engine and bits and bobs. that is wwaayy more cost efficient and time efficient than an electric semi and the business running those electric semis is ever going to see.

Take a look around. You have a smartphone? How much of it is plastic, has components that derive from plastic, other components were manufactured in a facility that  is powered by burning  a bio fuel? Same thing with computers, any wiring, windows, wood, metal, oil, glass, food; oil touches it in some way, either from direct manufacture, direct use, or boi fuels were used to create or produce an environment to manufacture or process and ship said item.

People talk about doing so much to help; however,  we need to  focus on  taking care of what we NOW have created before we can even THINK about alternatives, and if those alternatives are going to actually supersede what we are doing now.; and if those newer technologies are also going to be environment friendly. At this stage n the game, is 6 to one, half a dozen to the other.  
 
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Kim Huse wrote:There is never any 'truly clean' way out.

... expert says " You have to realize, no matter what  it is in our lives, Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, starts with oil. Oil makes gas, which powers  vehicles. taken in that context, Oil is the main resource that we can not do without; it starts everything."  

People talk about doing so much to help; however, we need to  focus on  taking care of what we NOW have created before we can even THINK about alternatives, and if those alternatives are going to actually supersede what we are doing now.; and if those newer technologies are also going to be environment friendly.



Kim, I totally agree. I dont think solar is “green” and i dont think electric vehicles are going to do much good in the long run. Probably not really even in the short run. As a society, a civilization, we need to do the most difficult and inconvenient thing imaginable: stop.

We need to stop and reflect on whats truly necessary and important in our lives and figure out how to sustainably produce and maintain those handful of things. The rest is trash that needs to be repurposed, not improved upon or replaced with “alternatives”. But it’s a big society with a lot of momentum, and that’s the struggle. Stopping, even temporarily, is not ok with most people. I think quarantine was a golden opportunity for people to realize that. Unfortunately, most people seemed to view it as an inconvenience or speedbump on their busy highway of a life instead of an opportunity to reflect and change.
 
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I get rid of some my styrofoam by using it to make my homemade waterproof glue/sealant.  It's not exactly an eco-friendly product, but, it does keep a little styrofoam out of the waste stream.
Dissolve a wad of styrofoam in a little alcohol free gas or a little acetone.  When the resulting putty dries in a few days, it's totally water proof.
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