Chemical engineering pupil, 19, gifted R50k prize for genius invention

Chemical engineering pupil, 19, gifted R50k prize for genius invention

- Leila Siljeur was driven by a need to save the environment and invented edible straws

- The 19-year-old is a 2nd year student at Stellenbosch University

- Siljeur's brilliance was recognised as she won R50 000 for her innovative invention

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Leila Siljeur saw an image of a plastic fork stuck inside the nose of a turtle and was driven to play a role in saving the environment.

While studying Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University, Siljeur came up with a clever, yet simple invention to reduce the need for plastic.

The 19-year-old invented edible straws, which are not only tasty, but environmentally friendly.

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IOL reported that Siljeur was recognised for her genius as she bagged a R50 000 prize through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation National Jamboree.

The brilliant teenager registered her invention as Eat Me Straws. learnt that the straws come in three variations - regular, vegan and health.

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An important factor in its design is that the straw doesn't get soggy when exposed to liquid.

There are companies who have been producing biodegradable straws, but Siljeur cites the fact that they can still be dumped and have an adverse effect on animals.

Siljeur said, “The straws can be coloured and flavoured as per customer specifications. We use different bases for the three ranges - gelatine for regular straws, plants for vegan straws and fruit for the health variety."

The innovative straws are made up of a combination between dried fruit and liquorice.

The young entrepreneur has been selling batches to university students, but hopes that some of the fast-food chains would stock the items at their branches.

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