Aussie teen’s prawn shell packaging alternative to tackle plastic waste

Angelina Arora’s prawn shell “plastic”. Image: 

AN Aussie teenager has come up with an innovative solution to tackle single-use plastic packaging.

Angelina Arora, has used prawn shells to create a plastic alternative that can decompose in landfill after a month or two.

The invention earned Angelina a BHP Science and Engineering Award and the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year title.

Angelina told the product is not expensive to manufacture, unlike other biodegradable materials, and can be put towards a variety of uses.

“I am currently in talks to companies and manufacturers and the response is looking positive,” Arora said.

Angelina said the plastic could be used for all sorts of packaging because it was transparent, flexible, durable and insoluble.

“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.

Angelina developed the product by mixing an element from prawn shell with a protein from spider web to create a plastic that decomposed 1.5 million times faster than conventional plastics.

The teenager, who is a medicine student, is currently testing the product to see if it could also be used for medical packaging.

Angelina was motivated to develop the plastic product because she said she wanted to dedicate her life to making a difference to others, “whether it be conserving our environment for future generations or bettering the health of our society”.

“My generation is finding its voice when it comes to making a difference for the environment,” she said.


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