Collecting samples for later study is an integral component of Yale’s Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory in Ecuador. Once back at Yale, these samples are studied for interesting properties. One of these organisms, Pestalotiopsis microspora, was able to persist on a diet of the common plastic, polyurethane, AND, it did it well under low oxygen conditions. The latter is extremely important as landfills are very anaerobic environments once you go below the surface. Here is a link to a description of this work.
This fungus is not new to science but this is the first time its ability to degrade polyurethane under anaerobic conditions has been shown. Other fungi were at least partially able to break down the plastic but only in the presence of oxygen.
Recycle, recycle, recycle…. but, there may be hope for the stuff you didn’t (or never realized you could)!