Elif Bilgin is a 16 year old from Istanbul, Turkey, that recently received the Science in Action award which is part of the Google Science Fair.
In her project description, Bilgin states:
My project is about using banana peels in the production of bio-plastic as a replacement of the traditional petroleum based plastic. In this project, I developed a method for making plastic by using banana peels and found new areas for the use of the plastic that I manufactured: using the bio-plastic in the making of cosmetic prosthesis and in the insulation of cables.
One of Bilgin’s motivations is to spare the planet from the consequences plastics derived from petroleum as she believes they pollute or air land and water. The banana fruit’s peel was selected for this experiment because it is a waste material rich of starch.
Bilgin spent two years toiling away on her project to develop a bioplastic from discarded banana peels, enduring 10 failed trials of plastics that weren’t strong enough or that decayed rapidly. She was undaunted. As she put it in her project description: “Even Thomas Edison said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’” Finally, in her last two trials, she made plastics with the features she sought, and it did not decay.
Read more on Elif’s work using banana peels in the production of bio-plastic: