Two students in Mexico won first prize at a science fair for their work. Year-long project resulted in ability to turn discarded mango peel into straws. Creators say it is thicker than a normal straw and retains a smell of mango
More than 50 million tonnes of mango are farmed around the world every year, but the discarded peelings have, until now, been of little use.
Two university students in Mexico have nabbed first place in a university science fair with their innovative method of turning the peel of the exotic fruit into biodegradable straws.
Itzel Paniagua and Alondra Montserrat Lopez say they were motivated by a desire to protect the environment and prevent further damage to the world’s ecosystems by plastic.
Footage shot at the University Fair of Science, Technology and Innovation in Mexico City shows the students creating the straws.
More than a year of work, carried out at the College of Sciences and Humanities (CCH), allowed them to figure out a method to blend, treat and process the leaves.
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The end result is a thin sheet of dried pulp which can be rolled into a tube and sealed, creating the straw.
Alondra Montserrat Lopez says: ‘It is like a normal straw only a little thicker with a colour between yellow and brown, it has a mango smell but in the drink it leaves no flavour.’
‘We had to do several investigations and tests; We had difficulties, but in the end we succeeded,’ the UNAM students said.
‘Now we want UNAM to support us to continue with the project until its commercialisation.’
Plastic waste and straws are a menace to the environment, with their inability to naturally decompose ensuring they persist in nature for hundreds of years.
Horrific images reveal how animals are struggling to cope with the influx of human waste.
Turtles and other marine creatures are ingesting plastic straws and carrier bags after mistaking them for food, dolphins and sharks are dying after getting tangled in old fishing nets, and birds are making their nests out of plastic.
Widespread innovation is underway to find ways to minimise our impact on the natural world, including biodegradable alternatives and finding ways to increase the effectiveness of recycling.
Published on dailymail.co.uk