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Health & Science

With The 'Eco Bin,' Student Scientists Aim Big In Fight Against Waste


Scientists from across the country gathered at the White House this week to present their findings to President Obama - cancer treatments, protective gear for firefighters, new kinds of water filters. And one team from Missouri is tackling Styrofoam waste, which take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill.

REAGAN: I'm Reagan.

CHRISTINA: I'm Christina.

JULIANNA: I'm Julianna.

SINDHU: I'm Sindhu.

SYDNEY: And I'm Sydney.

MARTIN: Yes, you've figured it out. The scientists are 12 and 13 years old - Christina Yepez, Sindhu Bala, Sydney Gralike, Julianna Jones and Reagan Mattison. They are also members of Troop 1484 - Girl Scouts from St. Louis, Mo. And they've got an elevator pitch that is very well coordinated.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: People told us that there was no solution to recycling Styrofoam.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: But we put our heads together...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: And we did it while creating a useful, effective product.

They call it the Eco Bin.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: And the Eco Bin is a kit for homes and businesses where you take the...

MARTIN: So you put your Styrofoam coffee cups and packing peanuts and you toss them in Eco Bin. There's a non-toxic solution inside that turns that trash into a gooey glue.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: And then we pick it up, same as you would with trash and recycling.

MARTIN: While developing the product, they sent the glue to a lab to be tested by more senior scientists. The result - it is nontoxic and a pretty strong adhesive. Now the team is working to patent the invention. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.