There have been lots of efforts this year to address the large amount of plastics in the ocean, which can be harmful to marine life and ecosystems.

The problem? Getting those plastics out of the ocean is hard, especially when it comes to microplastics.

Now there’s a study out of Princeton that says we could get some help on this problem from egg whites.

The researchers were looking for a substance that was lightweight but could also filter tiny bits of plastic out of ocean water.

They tried all sorts of foods, but in the end the ones that best did the job were egg whites.

Though it’s not as simple as separating out some yolks and then putting the rest of the egg in some ocean water.

First, the team freeze dries the egg whites.

Then they’re put in an oxygen-free environment and exposed to extremely high temperatures.

That changes the texture of the egg whites in a way that makes them extremely good at filtering small stuff out of the water.

Eventually the team might be able to create that same extra-filtered structure from other proteins, which means they could just leave the egg whites in the eggs.

A group of college students in Malaysia has a non-egg white system for removing tiny bits of debris from the ocean.

Their system is called “Whalecro.”

It uses a system based on Velcro straps that essentially acts like an underwater lint roller – or, like the name suggests, a whale eating plankton.

How Egg Whites Can Help Clean the Ocean (Cool Hunting)

whalecro vehicle captures ocean microdebris via velcro straps as users move underwater (designboom)

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Photo by eltpics via Flickr/Creative Commons