After two years of research, experiments, and failed trials, 16-year-old Elif Bilgin developed a new process for turning banana peels into a non-decaying bioplastic, a more eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Of the process, she said, “Even Thomas Edison said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’”

In recognition of her persistence and discovery, she is Scientific American‘s 2013 Science in Action winner and winner of the Voter’s Choice Award for the Google Science Fair 2013.

In the archives: more about plastic pollution and compostable packaging made from mushrooms.


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