WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University students have won $20,000 for creating a soy-based mulch for playgrounds and gardens.
The Smulch team participated in the 28th Annual Student Soybean Innovation Competition.
Because it’s made from soybeans, Smulch is safe for children to pick up and play with as a play surface.
As a mulch, it is a unique product that is also biodegradable and beneficial to plants.
“We wanted to create something that would be safe for those around it and safe for the environment it’s in,” said Libby Plassard, a first-year business management and finance student.
“We kind of looked for a problem that needed to be solved. We didn’t want to make a soy product just to make a soy product. We wanted to solve a problem.
Team Smulch faced nine other teams in the competition.
Other creations include Brilliant Bean, a soy-based ink for dry-erase markers. The Brilliant Bean team won second place and a $10,000 prize.
Team Silm has created a 100% biodegradable agricultural mulching film. They won $5,000 and third place for their invention.
The public prize was awarded to Team Drip Drop, creator of a soy-based coffee filter.
Following the competition, the Indiana Soybean Alliance is working to develop the products, evaluating their long-term feasibility and commercial viability.
“The goal of the contest is to showcase the versatility of soy while meeting a need in agriculture or the general public,” said Denise Scarborough, LaCrosse farmer and Chair of the Sustainability and Creation Committee. ISA value.
“The results of this event expand opportunities and markets for all Indiana soybean growers. The Smulch team has created a safe and necessary product that we believe many communities would use.