Teen Invents Biodegradable Plastic Made From Shrimp

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Teen Invents Biodegradable Plastic Made From Shrimp

An Australian teenager has made an amazing breakthrough in the fight against plastic pollution. As we are all well aware that plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental concerns facing the world at the moment. According to National Geographic 448 million tons of plastic are disposed of every year and while plastic may have made our modern lives easier due to its sturdiness and longevity these feature also lead to environmental damage. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic that does not decay fills our oceans trapping, killing and poisoning sea-life and disrupting the ecological balance.


What therefore is required is a plastic that retains all the useful features we are used to in our day-to-day lives whilst also degrading after an appropriate length of time. Thankfully 17 year old Angelina Arora has been able to create such a plastic. Her material, made using prawn shells, degrades after 33 days meaning it no longer poses a threat to the natural world! The invention has led to high-acclaim, even winning her an BHP Science and Engineering Award and being named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year.


Her product is created using a protein from a silk-worm cocoon and an element from prawn shells. Angelina moved through a series of prototypes using organic materials such as corn-starch and banana peels but realised when eating dinner one night that prawn shells have a plastic-like quality to them. Extracting chitin from the prawn shells and mixing it with fibroin, an insoluble protein found in silkworm cocoons, was all it took to create the amazing new material that naturally biodegrades after just 33 days. It is insoluble, flexible, and durable – the necessary requirements for a viable plastic substitute.


The young inventor is now in talks with a series of companies to look at making the material commercially viable and has started to look into patenting the product – which could in turn make her very rich indeed! While Angelina was worried that her youth might hold her back, or stop her from being taken seriously, she instead believes that it could be an advantage. After all it is the youth who appear most likely to have serious concerns about the environment and most likely to change their consumption habits for ecological reasons.


A YouGov study, which was commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council found out young people within the ages of 18-24 were the most concerned about the environment and its impact on marine life. Anne Gabriel of Marine Stewardship Council stated in response to the study that oceans are the only wild food source left for us and if we don’t plan to preserve it the next generation would suffer.


We say well done to Angelina and hope her example is a great inspiration to all the young minds wishing to change our world for the better!

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Thinking Humanity: Teen Invents Biodegradable Plastic Made From Shrimp
Teen Invents Biodegradable Plastic Made From Shrimp
An Australian teenager has made an amazing breakthrough in the fight against plastic pollution. As we are all well aware plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental concerns facing the world at the moment. According to National geographic 448 million tons of plastic are disposed of every year and while plastic may have made our modern lives easier due to its sturdiness and longevity these feature also lead to environmental damage.
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