DLSU-D Senior High students develop alternative to plastic straw using Saba fruit peelings

HSBC Philippines
Saba plastic straw
Saba fruit peelings have been developed into alternative organic material for drinking straws. Photo from Marlon Pareja of DLSU-D High School.

De La Salle University – Dasmarinas (DLSU-D) Senior High School students have come up with a solution to plastic waste problems by developing an alternative to plastic drinking straw using the Filipino favorite Saba banana’s fruit peelings.

The research report received by GoodNewsPilipinas.com notes that since the Saba Banana (scientific name Musa acuminata x balbisiana) has been a typical main ingredient of popular Filipino food like turon, bananacue, “minatamis na saging (sweetened banana)”, an added ingredient in Nilaga and Puchero, and a usual street food item sold by ambient vendors, the waste from the saba peelings contribute greatly to the solid waste disposal problem in the country.

“We also know that one of the biggest global concerns in our generation pertains to environmental issues, particularly poor waste management and plastic pollution. So we have come up with an idea wherein we can hit two birds with one stone: compostable bioplastic product made from food waste or discards,” shares the DLSU-D HS research team.

La Salle Dasmarinas’ Grade 12 students, Sherard Gilbert Ballon, Dreamdith Therese Dy, Christina Danica Eneirga, Patricia Jeanne Ramos, and Jerrika Mikaela Tonio then embarked on a study of the saba banana to develop a material that can possibly replace plastic drinking straws. The five students’ research was conducted for nearly a year as part of the DLSU-D Senior High School curriculum’s requirements.

 

Five DLSUD-D High School students developing the organic drinking straw. Photo from Marlon Pareja .

“Since most of us in our generation like to drink coffee and milk teas, we observed that the plastic drinking straws in these coffee and milk tea establishments contribute a lot of plastic waste. Hence, our desire to look for possible alternative from another wasted material, the saba banana peeling,” researcher Ballon said.

“We used saba peelings because we found out that no research was done on the material but it is a common waste,” notes Ramos.

“We first scraped off the fibers contained in the peels and turned them into a sort of a bioplastic product with the help of a plasticizer” explained Dy about their process of developing the material.

“But we need to do some optimization by trial and error until we were able to develop the optimum mixture,” adds Eneirga and Tonio.

DLSU-D High School Vice Principal for Academics and Research Marlon Pareja, himself a science researcher who led a team’s discovery of how to use squid ink to develop a water pollution test kit, said he welcomes the students’ research.

“As a university that promotes sustainability and support zero waste, the research is an epitome of how and to what level we should integrate the sustainability values in our curriculum,” Professor Pareja told Good News Pilipinas. Pareja has also led DLSU-D in its environmental actions that gained recognition from various groups and institutions such as Eco-Waste Coalition and the Global Sustainable Network.

The DLSU-D High School will have a research conference on April 29-30, 2020 where the students’ research results will be presented to the public.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the students and DLSU-D High School community for innovating on an alternative to plastic using organic waste!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.