Can banana peels produce bio-plastic and replace traditional petroleum-based plastic?
Plastic, plastic, plastic! Everywhere you look, plastic is there. The plastic that we use today contains petroleum derivatives and can impact negatively on both personal health and the environment - how about if this plastic was produced from banana peels? Wouldn’t that be great? Banana peels based bio-plastic replacing traditional petroleum-based plastic seems like an ideal alternative but is it possible?
Bio plastic has the potential to reduce pollution and bring in biological reforms. Important raw materials for bio plastic are starch and cellulose which generally so far have been derived from potatoes. To balance the food stock and develop different alternatives, Ms. Elif Bilgin, a sixteen year old Turkish student undertook a two year project on banana peels to study the starch and cellulose content contained in them and see if banana peels could be used to produce bio plastic. Ms. Bilgin's orginal thought process stemmed from the easily-noticeable fact that bananas are well protected and packaged by their outer peel, which is quite flexible and resilient. It took 10 failed trials and two years of research and experiment for Ms. Bilgin’s project to finally turn the banana peels into plastic and later to be honoured as the finalist in the Google Science Fair and also win the $50,000 top prize at the Scientific American Science in Action competition.
Check out the video below describing the project:
Do have a look at Ms. Bilgin’s project outline on Google Science Fair. If this project could be implemented extensively, the petroleum-based plastic which has now formed a very essential importance in our lives could be replaced sustainably by bio-plastics. This would give consumers an alternative and could be a solution to the increasing pollution caused by the petroleum-based plastic.