A 16-year-old girl's school science project could be the key to drastically cutting harmful pollution from plastics manufacturing. All you need are some bananas to get started.
Elif Bilgin, from Istanbul, Turkey, designed a science experiment to turn banana peels into bioplastic, plastic made from organic waste like peels and vegetable oil instead of petroleum.
Bilgin shows that with just one chemical and some peels, she can make bioplastic. Just think of the possibilities. Bananas are one of the world's most popular fruits, consumed in massive quantities. The peels are use for little else besides garbage or an old-school physical comedy gag.
If it can be scaled, Bilgin's idea could cut down on petroleum use for plastics. Petroleum "causes pollution at every stage," according to the Financial Times Press. And when things goes awry with its use, the effects last generations. Just ask the Gulf of Mexico residents still seeing effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
Kudos to Bilgin, winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award, on her great idea. Let's hope it goes somewhere.