Sunday, May 25, 2008

Using Oranges to Break Down Polystyrene?

Is breaking down polystyrene (more commonly known under the brand name "styrofoam") as easy as leaving your fresh squeezed cup of orange juice from Jamba in the hot sun? Well not exactly and perhaps we can for now file this story in "don't believe everything you read on 'the internets,' " but the Jakarta Post reports that high school students have discovered a way to break down polystyrene into a non-toxic safe to dispose of solution that "can be decomposed by microorganisms in the air and soil." Apparently orange peels contain limonene, a substance that is used an an industrial degreaser and is found in those "orange cleaners" that have become all the rage. This "breakthrough" bears further investigation, the result of which will be reported here.