This project is one of the 10 finalists for the Gabriel Betancourt Mejía Latin American Award, in which they compete against others from Argentina, Cuba and Brazil, chosen from almost 100 proposals.
The team presented the project in Bogotá to experts who will evaluate it to choose the best three. This proposal, which is in its initial stage, was born in a research hotbed as a joint work of Verónica Valencia and Sindy López, students of the Medellín National University, and Juan Pablo Vélez, of the Metropolitan Technological Institute.
"We identified a very strong deficiency in Latin America, because according to the FAO no country exceeds 15 percent of recycled material each year, which is why a lot of organic waste is generated that is wasted, because although it has a very low degradation cycle, it is not used for other processes, ”explained Alejandro Valencia, a teacher at the research hotbed that accompanies the students. They also realized that hygiene products generate serious environmental problems due to their long degradation process.
According to Valencia, in the first two years of life, a child can use an average of two to four diapers a day, and a woman can use 9,100 sanitary napkins in her entire life, but a single one can take up to 500 years to decompose.
The young people decided to produce these items with agro-industrial waste and chose corn because a good amount of cellulose can be extracted from it, an essential element for the manufacture of diapers and towels. "From the sheet you can get 40 percent cellulose, and we know that the sheet is not used for anything else," added Valencia.