Scientists have discovered something that can break down all the plastic bags that populate the world’s landfills: wax worm saliva. Wax worms — which are moth larvae that infest beehives — have an enzyme in their saliva that breaks down polyethylene in just a few hours, according to Dr. Federica Bertocchini of the Biological Research Centre in Madrid. Polyethylene comprises 30 percent of all plastic production and is a primary ingredient in plastic bags. “My beehives were plagued with wax worms, so I started cleaning them, putting the worms in a plastic bag,” Bertocchini says. “After a while, I noticed lots of holes and we found it wasn’t only chewing; it was a chemical breakdown. So that was the beginning of the story.” Bertocchini is calling worm saliva “a depository of degrading enzymes which could revolutionize the cleanup of polluting waste.” What needs to be done to get people to start treating the environment better?