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Flaming 'Dung Beetle' Turns Plastic Waste Into Green Energy

By Brian Spaen

Plastic waste has a significant impact on our environment, but innovators are finding ways to recycle the product into something useful. That was the focus in creating the Dung Beetle, an art sculpture that simultaneously converts single-use plastic into diesel and gas. It’s a unique approach that’s geared toward enhancing the conversation around the environmental issue.

Those unfamiliar with dung beetles should know that, yes, these are insects that roll feces into round balls, and they will feed on them, bury them into the ground, or even live inside them. Similar to how dung beetles are able to eliminate actual waste themselves, converting plastic into gas is also a way to help the environment.

Dung Beetle was created by Alliance Earth along with artist nathan Honey and inventor Pierre “Pops” Pretorius. It made its debut at AfrikaBurn, a Burning Man festival held in South Africa annually. These festivals hold experiments with “radical self-expression,” and that’s certainly evident when this sculpture imitates flaming farts that are over six-feet high.