Path to a solution

Our initial research was targetted towards helping the monarch butterflies. We visited the Natural Bridges State park and beach to research them.  While we were there  we went to the beach where we saw a lot of plastic pollution and found how it affected marine life. We found out that plastic six-pack rings were very harmful to marine life.

We studied how they impacted marine animals and came up with the solution (Fantastic Bioplastic).

Tacobots at the beach

When we started making the six pack rings, we tried using corn starch and vinegar. Those recipes didn’t work because the plastic was either too brittle or too hard.

Finally, we made a simple recipe with gelatin, glycerin, and water.

How do we know it is biodegradable/edible ?

We put the 3 samples to test.

  • Our plastic takes about 5 weeks to biodegrade in water
  • In soil, our test failed because a squirrel ran away with it and ate it 🙂
  • In sunlight  — it photodegrades and becomes quite brittle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…but is it edible ?

Adan at Quanta Laboratory decided to test by eating it.

 

How does it compare to the real plastic ?

Tacobots testing the tensile strength of Fantastic Bioplastic.

To test if our plastic is as strong and as flexible as normal plastic we went to Quanta Laboratories in Santa Clara.  When we reached there we were introduced to the tensile strength machine. First, we tried the normal plastic as the control sample. We recorded data on   how long it took to break. Then we put  our fantastic bioplastic to the test.

The Fantastic bioplastic has a tensile stress limit of 19 lbs while the plastic 6 pack ring is about 15 lbs.

Despite this , it is  easy enough for animals to break out.  We had multiple tests, but all of them recorded that the bioplastic was strong enough to hold the cans, but easy enough for animals to break out if they get stuck.

 

Testing data:

Regular Plastic 6 pack ring

sample 1 regular plastic loop

 

 

 

Bioplastic Sample

sample 2 fantasic bioplastic loop

 

 

 

Spreading awareness

To make people aware of this serious problem and our product we went to different places. These places included the Fremont Library, the Farmer’s Market, a marine biologist in Hayward, and the Sprout’s manager.

Tacobots at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center.

Anne, a marine biologist in Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center , was really impressed by our idea and she said, ” I’m aware how this is a serious problem and whenever I find these six-pack rings, I cut them up, so they don ‘t hurt the environment

 

Tacobots at Sprouts

We also visited a local grocery store, Sprouts. The  manager, Mr. Guillermo, said that,”Your idea is awesome and this is a serious problem  and  you should keep going because you are our future and if you keep going this problem will be solved.”

 

We also talked to Morgan from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Monterey. She really liked our idea and she said, “I’m really impressed by your idea,  I will still spread the word.”

 

We setup a camp at our library  and we discussed the idea with a lot of people. One person in particular,  a person from a high school environmental club, really  liked our idea and he said, “I am impressed to see that you thought of this at your age.”