High school students invent a bio-friendly hay bale wrap
It’s one of the biggest environmental problems you’ve never heard of, billions of pounds of agricultural plastic being burned, buried, or sent to landfills.
But have no fear, the A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. are working on it.
“It stands for A Very Energetic Nerdy Group of Environmentally Responsible Students,” explains Rachel Wood.
The A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. is a team of grade 8 and 9 students at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Russell, Ontario, south-east of Ottawa. They have come up with an eco-friendly alternative to the white plastic farmers use to wrap up hay bales.
They call it YAY Bale, an all-natural wrap that is biodegradable, even edible. It can be shredded and left on the field or mixed with livestock feed. “One of our main ingredients is corn fibers to make it more strong and durable,” says team member Rachel Fiset.
The A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. assembled to take part in the FLL Innovation Challenge, an international student competition that challenges them to design and market a product to address a real-world problem. This year’s theme was trash.
The kids got the idea for YAY Bale thanks to their rural roots. “We’re all, like 2 kilometres away from a farm,” notes team member Noah Hill.
The wrap is still in the testing phase, but so far it looks promising. The team has also presented the idea to members of the agricultural community, business people, and even a university chemistry professor. So far, no one has said it won’t work.
Perhaps not surprisingly, they’ve also made it to the world finals of the Innovation Challenge, one of 20 finalists chosen from over 600 teams from 23 different countries. They are currently fundraising to make the trip to Washington D.C. in June.
Not only are the A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. working to protect the environment, they’re also protecting their secret formula to make YAY Bale. “Because we’re in the process of patenting it right now,” explains Fiset.
Patenting an invention at the tender ages of 14 and 15? That’s one super opportunity for the A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S.
And that’s a wrap!