By Yong Xi Liu
Intermediate Category (Grades 9-10)
Innovation | Chemistry, Environment
Our planet is in danger from the consequences of our actions. Unfortunately, our habits are hard to change, and our rapid plastic consumption is one of the most permanent. Every year, we create almost 300 million tons of plastic, 50% of which is single use. Moreover, only 9% of this plastic is recycled and reused, which forces us to create even more. To solve this problem, I created two different types of bioplastic spoons (Bio 1 and Bio 2). They’re both made of potato starch, potato/sweet potato peels and other biodegradable ingredients, able to target yet another global issue: food waste.
We throw out 1.6 billion tons of food each year, and most of this wasted produce is actually perfectly fine, just not appealing enough to be sold in markets. So, with my innovation, which utilizes both potatoes and their peels, we can help with both these global problems.
To test my inventions, I compared them with plastic spoons and edible spoons (which are already sold online as a plastic alternative) in terms of durability and water resistance. My tests revealed that Bio 1s were the more durable of the two, both flexible and strong and Bio 2s had better water resistance and were almost completely waterproof.
In conclusion, the bioplastic spoons created are entirely capable of being used during a meal as an alternative to single-use plastic utensils. Furthermore, they are a great improvement from what is currently available on the market for eco-friendly/biodegradable tableware.
I hope that my research and creations can help with our climate crisis and lead the way to a brighter, greener future.