Scientists at The Ohio State University have discovered a chemical process that could lead to a way to make plastics without using fossil fuels. The process involves metabolizing sulfur to cause bacteria to create ethylene, the source of plastics that typically comes from oil or natural gas.

Experts have known since the 60s that there’s a great future in plastics. And they’ve also known that bacteria can create ethylene when combined with oxygen. But there’s one little problem: Oxygen combined with ethylene tends to blow everything around it to smithereens. The newly discovered bacteria trick makes it easy and safe.