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National Honoree

Photo of National Honoree Kazue  Nishi

Kazue Nishi

Brazil

Kazue Nishi, 18, of Distrito Federal, a 12th Grade at Centro de Ensino Médio 02 do Gama, was inspired by the ongoing dialogue around the environmental impact of plastic straws to embark on a project that turned orange peels into biodegradable plastic. Kazue worked with a friend, and with support from a chemistry teacher, to research the idea. They found that orange peels are discarded in huge numbers in Brazil – and they also contain substances that can form polymer. The team tested methodologies, and got resourceful whenever they weren’t able to get the necessary supplies, and produced the polymer. They also received financial support that will enable Kazue to lecture on the project at a school located in Ota, Japan. "I think that, in the future, my plastic is a way to help people (by creating jobs, for example) and also to protect the environment," Kazue said.