On March 26th, in Thừa Thiên Huế, the Ministry of Education and Training, in collaboration with the Central Youth Union, held the 5th contest, “Students with start-up ideas” (SV*.STARTUP), 2023. In this year’s competition, the Organizing Committee has received over 500 projects from all educational institutions nationwide. As a result, there are 80 projects selected for the final round.
Accordingly, a group of students from the VNUHCM-University of Science, combined with students of the VNUHCM-University of Technology, (Ms Phạm Thị Trang – Group leader of the class of 2019 in the Faculty of Biotechnology) excellently won the third prize with the project “Paper made from seashells”.
- Project Idea: Every year, millions of trees are cut down to produce paper. In the paper industry, on average, the material for the production of 1 ton of paper is equivalent to white wood chips extracted from 18 mature trees with a trunk diameter of 15-20 cm (commonly Melaleuca, Acacia auriculiformis, Eucalyptus, Poplar, etc.). The rest of the tree, such as twigs, leaves, bark, etc., are wasted. In addition, the pulp-making process requires many chemicals to process the lignocellulose into a cellulose-rich pulp. Therefore, we wondered how to make paper with minimal chemicals and replace cellulose with renewable ingredients. By-products include shells, oysters, eggs, and other molluscs provide a rich source of bioavailable calcium carbonate and are easy to find and produce in large quantities. However, to bind calcium carbonate powder into paper sheets, we need an environmentally friendly bioplastic that is biodegradable and does not leave microplastics.
- Product Description: Seashell paper products contain two main ingredients: calcium carbonate powder and PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol – a fossil-based water soluble, biodegradable polymer). The calcium carbonate powder from seashells and oyster shells bonded to thin sheets of paper on a bioplastic base (PVA). It is very safe and environmentally friendly.
- Project value: The group expands other calcium carbonate sources, such as eggshells, to increase the sources of raw materials, reduce the amount of domestic waste and bring about a circular economy towards the 3R policy. Thereby bringing an economic basis for agriculture from by-products such as shells, seashells, oysters, eggs and other molluscs.
*: abbrev. in vietnamese for student