Eco-Hero: 12-year-old boy invents edible water bottle to fight plastic pollution

You don’t have to be a brilliant researcher to be a brilliant inventor! 12 years old madison checketts proves to us that inventions do not depend on the age of the creator. Tired of seeing plastic polluting her favorite beaches, this young girl decided to take action for the planet by creating an Eco-Hero. edible water bottle. Beaches are often the scene of piles of plastic washed up by the ocean, and Madison hopes to change all that! Thanks to his invention, he was selected as one of 30 finalists in the Broadcom Masters 2022 competition, the nation’s leading science, technology, engineering and math competition for high school students.

Where did this idea come from?

“The the beach is one of my favorite places and seeing it littered with plastic water bottles made me think I needed a change.” Madison explains in a lengthy interview with Smithsonianmag. Learning about plastic pollution, he learns that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, according to figures from the European Parliament. He then decided to come up with a solution to limit the presence of plastic bottles, one of the most common products found in the oceans. After some time Eco-Hero is born as part of his school’s science fairEagle Mountain, Utah.

Madison Checketts won first place at the Central Utah STEM Fair. Photo credit: Science Society

What is this invention?

Every year, We consume 89 billion plastic bottles, disposable and disposable containers. In nature, they jump and fall into the oceans, where they break down into microplastics that are harmful to aquatic fauna. And so, for the man who eats fish! Still a self-documenting teenager, he discovered a website about inverse spherification, a method of encapsulating a liquid in a gel membrane. He then wants to know if this method, which is also used for the Ooho concept, is suitable prepare a non-contaminant bottle and even edible. Reverse spherification allows the liquid entering the membrane to remain liquid for a longer time.

It is then based on a a chemical reaction between two commonly used food components : sodium alginate, a natural polymer found in brown algae and calcium lactate (salt). When these two additives are mixed together, a cross-link is formed that forms a gel membrane capable of trapping liquids. After several failed attempts, Madison manages to create her final prototype by mixing salt, xanthan gum, lemon juice, and water.

Madison Checketts, 12, has been selected as one of 30 finalists in the 2022 Broadcom Masters competition, the leading national science, technology, engineering and math competition for high school students.
Madison Checketts, 12, has been named one of 30 finalists in the 2022 Broadcom Masters competition, the nation’s premier science, technology, engineering and math competition for high school students. Photo credit: Science Society

He then freezes the mixture and then places the frozen rectangle in the sodium alginate solution and spins it around until the membrane forms. After seven minutes, the resulting membrane is removed and immersed in a distilled water bath to stop progression. His edible glass was dipped in a mixture of lemon juice and water, then resisted for three weeks before exploding.

Eco-Hero, an invention for the planet

The Eco-Hero bottle can hold water, but it doesn’t it only costs $1.20 to make. To use it, the consumer has to pierce the membrane at the top, then drink and eat the bottle. However, if you don’t eat it and throw it into nature, it will deteriorate on its own within a few weeks. As for the water within this membrane, Madison explains this the taste of water with a little lemon, and the membrane also looks like a lemon, gelatin teddy bear! That’s a great idea, isn’t it?

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