Cover art for podcast Who's Saving the Planet?

Who's Saving the Planet?

99 EpisodesProduced by Planet Savers Org. Website

Discover how the minds, methods and money that fueled the explosion of innovation and disruption in silicon valley are working to build the technology, products and companies that will save the planet. Hosts: Lex Kiefhaber and Tony Noto. Music: Bill Gagliardi.

56:19

Redux: Beetle Mania; How Scarab Tech is Teaching us the Potential of Reclaimed Plastic

This week we're revisiting one of our favorite stories from 2020, the crazy duo in South Africa building engines that look like beetles powered by plastic from oceans. We're working on a whole slate of new, wonderful, inspiring stories for you in 2021, thanks fall the laughs (and fish) and see you next year!

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A mechanical bug just might be the answer to solving the world's plastic problem — a 6 billion-ton problem. That's how much plastic is in the environment. It piles up onto our land into trash heaps, and clogs our oceans, forming islands. It's beyond gross. "The question still remains," Scarab Tech co-founder Simon Davis tells us. "What on Earth do we do with this ever growing mountain of plastic?"

Simon and his fellow co-founder, Jeffrey Barbee, have an answer. These beetle bros educate Lex and Tony on the technological advancements they made by "feeding" their mechanical creation excess trash, which is then transformed into fuel that can power electrical grids. So not only is this "Dung Beetle" gobbling up our garbage, it also has the ability to solve an extremely important issue: energy poverty.

Impoverished communities either rely on archaic solutions like coal, or have zero energy resources at all. Meanwhile, plastic continues to pollute local water resources. Can a fire-belching beetle come to the rescue? Sounds like science fiction, but it's not — this "scarab" solution can solve a very real, and devastating, crisis.

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