Organic disposable bag made from hemp fibers impresses at the Jugend forscht competition

Organic disposable bag made from hemp fibers impresses at the Jugend forscht competition

In the 58th national Jugend forscht competition, three students from Hesse won first prize in the "world of work" category with their development of a compostable disposable bag.

Seyma Celik, Anja Armstrong und Jennifer Boronowska mit Lutz Oelsner, Bundespatenbeauftragter 2023 und Präsident der Unternehmensverbände im Lande Bremen e. V.
The award winners Seyma Celik, Anja Armstrong and Jennifer Boronowska with Lutz Oelsner, Federal Funding Officer 2023 and President of Unternehmensverbände im Land Bremen e.V.

They are young and they have innovative ideas in store: kids and young people aged up to 21 who put their talents to the test in the STEM competition Jugend forscht. This year's winners were announced in Bremen on May 21 in the presence of the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger. A total of 173 young STEM talents qualified for this year's national finals in seven subject areas with 108 innovative research projects. Three students from the Gustav Heinemann School in Rüsselsheim am Main were among the winning teams for a biobased innovation.

A tear resistant disposable bag made from organic hemp fiber

With their environmentally friendly plastic bag, the high school girls from Hesse won the first prize of 2,500 euros in the category "world of work". Seyma Celik, Anja Armstrong and Jennifer Boronowska developed a bioplastic that is fully compostable. The young researchers used a biopolymer of glycerin, acetic acid, starch and water reinforced with hemp fibers as the material base. From this, the team ultimately produced a tear-resistant film and processed it into a disposable biobag.

Tests showed that the disposable bags made from the bio-based plastic actually compost well. According to the jury, after three weeks, the microorganisms had broken down most of the starch polymer in the compost. All that remained were remnants of the hemp fibers. "Their compostable bags impressively demonstrate the great potential for sustainable and practical use in everyday life," the laudation said. The jury particularly appreciated the fact that the 18- and 19-year-old high school girls "intensively studied chemical compositions and material testing." The jury was impressed by the "particular ingenuity, conceptual approach and potential broad application of their development."

Discover and promote young STEM talent

Jugend forscht is Germany's best-known competition for young scientists. The joint initiative of the federal government, the states, stern magazine, business, science and schools aims to get children and young people up to the age of 21 interested in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology, and to discover and promote talent at an early stage.

The highlight is the national competition, where the winners of the respective state competitions meet and have to compete with the best in their field. Prizes are awarded in a total of seven subject areas - the world of work, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics/computer science, earth and space sciences, and technology. Each year, there are more than 120 competitions with cash and non-cash prizes worth more than one million euros. The 58th national competition was organized by the Jugend forscht e. V. foundation together with Unternehmensverbände im Land Bremen e. V. (business associations in the state of Bremen).