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Science & Technology

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.