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  • Writer's pictureWorld Half Full

Teenager turns prawn shells into plastic


Australian teenager, Angelina Aurora, 17, has developed an organic alternative to plastic using prawn shells. Unlike traditional plastic — which can take 1,000 years to decompose in landfills — Aurora’s prawn plastic will break down in just over a month.

Named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of 2020, Aurora’s invention has caught the interest of some of Australia’s biggest supermarket chains. Speaking to, Aurora, who’s a medical student from Adelaide, said, “I am currently in talks with companies and manufacturers, and the response is looking positive.”

Unlike other biodegradable materials, Aurora’s prawn plastic is inexpensive to produce. Also, being transparent, flexible, durable and insoluble, the product has multiple packaging possibilities. Not only that: “It could also be used as an agricultural mulch as it releases nitrogen into the soil, which is really beneficial for plant growth, health and immunity,” she said.

Aurora’s “eureka moment” occurred during a family meal. “I was having dinner one night and noticed prawn shells look like plastic, I thought to myself ‘what makes them look like plastic?’ and then as any scientist does, I went straight to the lab and started researching.” Aurora’s motivation to develop an alternative to plastic comes from a deep desire to devote her life to effect positive change, “whether it be conserving our environment for future generations or bettering the health of our society.”

ABOVE Angelina Aurora

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