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This piece of paper could revolutionize human waste

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Could this simple kirigami paper be a solution to our waste problem? Kirigami is a variation of origami where the paper is cut as well as folded, resulting in a three-dimensional design. AsapSCIENCE shares the amazing potential these designs have unlocked.

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Origami, which literally translates to “folding paper,” is a Japanese practice dating back to at least the 17th century. In origami, a single, traditionally square sheet of paper can be transformed into almost any shape, purely by folding. The same simple concepts yield everything from a paper crane with about 20 steps, to a dragon with over 1,000 steps. Evan Zodl explores the ancient art form.

Honeybees are some of nature’s finest mathematicians. Not only can they calculate angles and comprehend the roundness of the earth, these smart insects build and live in one of the most mathematically efficient architectural designs around: the beehive. Zack Patterson and Andy Peterson delve into the very smart geometry behind the honeybee’s home.

If you’ve ever looked at the bottom of a disposable bottle or cup, you’ve probably noticed a recycling symbol. Seeing this, many people assume the item should be put in a recycling bin. Yet many plastics are incapable of being recycled at most centers. In fact, only 9% is recycled each year. So why are so few plastics recycled? And what do these symbols actually mean? Shannon Odell investigates.

Each year humanity produces roughly 400 million tons of plastic, 80% of which is discarded as trash. Of that plastic waste, only one-tenth is recycled. 60% gets incinerated or goes into the landfills, and 30% leaks out into the environment. Fortunately, there are microbes that may be able to take a bite out of this growing problem. Tierney Thys and Christian Sardet explore the future of recycling.

You place an order online and are offered many delivery options. Who wouldn't choose the fastest option? After all, you want that product as soon as feasibly possible. But, which delivery choice is best for the environment? Vox takes a closer look. 

You are made of polymers, and so are trees and telephones and toys. A polymer is a long chain of identical molecules (or monomers) with a range of useful properties, like toughness or stretchiness -- and it turns out, we just can't live without them. Polymers occur both naturally -- our DNA is a polymer -- and synthetically, like plastic, Silly Putty and styrofoam. Jan Mattingly explains how polymers have changed our world.

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