Schoolgirl invents environmentally friendly dog pooper scooper

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A Tauranga school student has solved a crucial problem for dog owners in the face of a ban on plastic bags.

Tearani Wikohika, a Year 8 student at Tauranga Intermediate, has entered her paper pooper scooper in this week’s NIWA Bay of Plenty Science and Technology Fair being held in Rotorua.

Called Eli’s Eco-scoops, the pooper scooper is made from homemade waterproof paper shaped into a cube with handles added, and an extra piece of waterproof paper to do the scooping. It also comes with a handy clip to attach to a dog collar.

Tearani Wikohika and her Science Fair project, Eli's Eco-scoops.

“Plastic bags are absolutely ruining our environment, so I wanted to create a product that could potentially replace the plastic bag for this purpose,” Tearani said.

She is hopeful her product will bring the planet one step closer to replacing plastic bags.

“I like creating products and like to create something that is useful for more global issues. “

Also with his eye firmly on environmental issues is Papamoa College pupil Dominik Mayfield who is hopeful of turning his science fair entry into a business.

Dominik wanted to find a use for the huge amounts of green lipped mussel shell waste being sent to the dump.

“I came up with the idea of creating an exfoliator out of finely ground mussel shells to be used in body care products. This product could be used to replace toxic microbeads that have banned in many countries, including New Zealand.”

Dominik Mayfield and his Science Fair project, Mussel Shell Exfoliater.

Dominik admits the biggest challenge was removing the debris and smell from the shells before they could be ground down.

NIWA Science Fairs present opportunity to see innovative and interesting ideas from our future scientists

There are 110 exhibits on display at the annual fair from 13 schools in the Bay of Plenty region.

This year the fair is being held at the Harvest Centre at 324 Malfroy Rd, Rotorua. A team of judges, including commercial industry scientists, research scientists and educators, will award about $5000 in total prize money and trophies. The best exhibit will be awarded $600.

Prizewinners will be recognised at an official ceremony at the Harvest Centre on Friday starting at 1pm. The fair is open to the public on Thursday from 1pm onwards and on Friday from 8.30am to 2pm.

NIWA fair organiser Tracey Burton says it is exciting to see students come up with new ideas and technologies that have real potential to become business enterprises.

“This is a great opportunity to see innovative and interesting ideas from our future scientists,” she said.

NIWA wishes all students entering the fair the very best of luck. NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland, Canterbury-Westland, Waikato, North Harbour, South and East Auckland and Wellington Science and Technology Fairs.

For more information see: www.bopscifair.org.nz

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