Katherine Bell, age 16
Phillips Academy Andover, Andover, MA
Many cosmetic, skincare, and cleaning products contain scrubbing particles called microbeads, which are small plastic fragments ranging in size from roughly five micrometers to one millimeter. They accumulate in the oceans in the form of microplastic, endangering both marine life and humans as it enters our diets. My product, Micro-Bees, are small hexagonal beads comprised of beeswax and microcrystalline wax, two entirely biodegradable products that when combined, produce a material with a similar hardness to plastic. They are added modern products that rely on hard bits of material either for bulk or exfoliation. Our design aims to eliminate single-use plastic from our oceans by providing an environmentally sustainable alternative that supports local bee farms. Since bees are essential for pollinating crops, our product extends to all people who rely on healthy food. Manufacturers will use Micro-Bees in products to replace microbeads.