16 Year Old Girl Invented Bio-plastic from Banana Peels


Plastic bags are a real scourge for the environment and represent a significant source of pollution on global warming through the considerable amount of greenhouse gases they emit. This waste is produced worldwide at a rate of 280 million per year and 80% is not sorted or recycled because recycling is not profitable enough. It would take between 100 and 400 years for them to deteriorate.

A revolutionary solution to save the planet

To try to end this problem, Elif Bilgin, a 16-year-old Turkish student with a passion for science, decided to develop a derivative of the plastic bag of petrochemical origin by trying to create a plastic bag made from cellulose Skins of bananas. After two years of intense research, she discovered how to get this revolutionary plastic bag by adding several chemicals to cellulose. This ecological solution, which has appealed to the world, could be a good alternative to today's oil-based plastic.

This young student was inspired by what is already done with food waste, including mango peels, which are used to create eco-responsible materials. Indeed, these are also used for the cellulose they contain in order to manufacture bioplastics. She then soaked the banana hides in a sodium metabisulphite solution before cooking and reduced to a purée which she then baked. 

During her two years of research, Elif Bilgin made twelve attempts, all of which ended in failure except the last one. It was a moment of satisfaction and pride for herself. Elif Bilgin is tenacious, just like the one she considers her "senseï", the scientific inventor Thomas Edison. She has made her expression her motto: "I have not failed, I have found ten thousand ways that do not work. I do not get discouraged because every failed attempt is a step forward towards success. "

A derivative with multiple virtues

According to her, this is a simple invention that can even be done at home and that could save the environment. We must remember that hundreds of millions of petrochemical plastic bags destroy biodiversity and kill a large number of marine animals each year. Many threatened species such as tuna, sea turtles and dolphins confuse them with prey and choke by trying to ingest them.

The material invented by Elif Bilgin can also be used in cosmetics to manufacture for example false nails or false eyelashes, and could even revolutionize orthopedic medicine by being used in the manufacture of artificial limbs. It can also be used to insulate electric cables.

A fighter promised a bright future

This 16-year-old girl was awarded the "Science in Action" prize by the journal "Scientific Americain", which awarded her a $ 50,000 scholarship to finance her project and research on this economic bioplastics. She was also a finalist in the Google Science Fair, which rewards young scientists and triumphed at the Voter's Choice Award. She has distinguished herself and seems destined for a bright future, as is her idol, the outstanding scientist Marie Curie winner of two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and one in chemistry.



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