16 year-old makes big changes on a global scale…

…$78 million worth of big changes, to be exact.

16 year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Faias, an Egyptian student, has found a relatively cheap catalyst to help break down plastic waste and turn it into bio-fuel feedstock.

Azza at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Azza’s discovery was made when brainstorming on how to reduce Egypt’s trash consumption, nearly 100 million tons per year. The idea of breaking down plastic garbage to be used as a bio-fuel starter has been around for several years, however it’s Azza’s catalyst discovery that is the real breakthrough here. All other methods have been regarded as too costly to be efficient, but this newly discovered catalyst, aluminosicilate, has been proved to break down waste and simultaneously produce methane, propane, and ethane, which can be used to create ethanol.

According to Azza, the technology could “provide an economically efficient method for production of hydrocarbon fuel,” including 40,000 tons per year of cracked naptha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gasses – the equivalent of $78 million in bio-fuel.

Azza’s proposal is already attracting loads of attention, including that of the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, as well as interest from major energy companies worldwide.

At only 16 years old, this teenager has made a discovery that could change the world. We know she has a bright future ahead. We also know that she is not the only young mind working towards a better planet.

Even ideas that seem small-scale at first can turn out to have a big impact. So we want to know, what things do you do make your part of the world better? Let us know in the comments!

6 Environmentally Friendly Celebs

Here are six of our favorite actors, musicians, and heartthrobs who are doing their part to keep the world a beautiful place:

1. Drake:

Drizzy has been making moves – in his eco-friendly tour bus!

When traveling between cities to each and every sold-out show, Drake is riding in style in his biodiesel-fueled tour bus. He also makes a special effort to stop at recycling and compost stations along the way. Even on a small scale, Drake is ensuring to use only biodegradable cleaning supplies, and merchandise made with sustainable materials.

2. Emma Watson

Emma shows off her first earth friendly clothing line “People Tree”

Now that this superstar is finished constantly bailing Harry and Ron out of trouble, this British actress is going to continue doing things to save the world (even without magic). Post-Potter, Emma has become a fashion icon for young adult women all over the world. Her biggest cause is organic and fair trade fabrics used in the fashion industry. Emma just launched her new line of organic clothing, Pure Threads, in collaboration with Italian designer Alberta Ferretti.

3. Justin Bieber

Its no wonder teenage girls swoon for him, especially with that sweet electric car of his!

 We all have a little bit of “Bieber fever,” but this teen heartthrob is doing more than just making teenage girls across the country melt. For his 18th birthday, the Biebster got a Fisker Karma, an electric and solar-powered sports car. While we may not love his recent paint job, we think that’s pretty crush-worthy.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo is one of our most earth concious celebrities.

Leo has made quite a transition since he hit it big as the hopeless romantic in Titanic (1997). He has played nearly everything under the sun in his career on the big screen, but what a lot of people don’t know is how he spends his time away from the camera. He not only drives a hybrid, uses solar panels, and flies commercial, but take just one look at the superstar’s Facebook Page, and you’ll see all of the great environmental causes he is involved in! He supports everything from marine life preservation, to climate change awareness, to fighting world poverty.

5. Natalie Portman

Long time vegetarian Natalie Portman is an avid animal rights activist.

In the past few years we have seen many sides of Ms. Portman. Between her award-winning role in Black Swan (2010) and a more fun side in Your Highness (2011), Natalie has been all over the big screen lately. However, did you know that in 2007, Natalie trekked to Rwanda with zoologist Jack Hanna to film a documentary about endangered gorillas? Portman is also a long-time vegetarian and animal rights activist.

6. Brad Pitt

Brad is just one half of America’s favorite power couple (who happen to be very eco-friendly), “Brangelina.”

We all know about Brangelina’s preference to adopt refugee children, but this half of America’s favorite power-couple is involved in some other very cool initiatives! For example: Brad’s Make It Right Foundation is helping to rebuild New Orleans’ 9th Ward with 150 eco-friendly houses using green technology.

Well, there’s our list of eco-friendly celebrities. Did we miss anyone? What is your favorite celebrity doing to go green?

Hybrids are Happening

Hybrids are the current “it” car of the automotive industry. Why does this matter to you? For many of us, it’s almost that time—time to start thinking about what type of car we want. So why not make a choice that is not only stylish, but beneficial to the environment as well?

The distinguishing factor between a hybrid car and a traditional car is that a hybrid uses two or more power sources, unlike gasoline engines that strictly burn fossil fuels—mainly petroleum—to power their movement (Diesel Engines vs. Gasoline Engines). While hybrid cars still use gasoline, they get an average of 15 more miles per gallon. Better gas mileage means fewer fill-ups, which translates to money in your pocket from savings at the pump!

But the question remains: can hybrids actually help the environment? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every one hundred miles driven, hybrid cars emit 23.3 fewer pounds of pollution than traditional vehicles. Therefore, hybrid cars will be able to significantly reduce the carbon footprint for which the transportation sector is currently responsible.

If you still don’t think that a hybrid is for you, there are other ways you can get similar benefits. Walking and riding a bike are both options that would not only save you money, but would also help improve air quality.

Whether choosing the option of the newer, more innovative hybrid, or the option of simply walking, always remember that your actions have an affect on air quality—so choose wisely!

You can check out the Hybrid Cars website for more helpful information about hybrid cars. What are your thoughts? When it comes time to buy a car, would you consider a hybrid?

Hybrids are Happening

Hybrids are the current “it” car of the automotive industry. Why does this matter to you? For many of us, it’s almost that time—time to start thinking about what type of car we want. So why not make a choice that is not only stylish, but beneficial to the environment as well?

The distinguishing factor between a hybrid car and a traditional car is that a hybrid uses two or more power sources, unlike gasoline engines that strictly burn fossil fuels—mainly petroleum—to power their movement (Diesel Engines vs. Gasoline Engines). While hybrid cars still use gasoline, they get an average of 15 more miles per gallon. Better gas mileage means fewer fill-ups, which translates to money in your pocket from savings at the pump!

But the question remains: can hybrids actually help the environment? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every one hundred miles driven, hybrid cars emit 23.3 fewer pounds of pollution than traditional vehicles. Therefore, hybrid cars will be able to significantly reduce the carbon footprint for which the transportation sector is currently responsible.

If you still don’t think that a hybrid is for you, there are other ways you can get similar benefits. Walking and riding a bike are both options that would not only save you money, but would also help improve air quality.

Whether choosing the option of the newer, more innovative hybrid, or the option of simply walking, always remember that your actions have an affect on air quality—so choose wisely!

You can check out the Hybrid Cars website for more helpful information about hybrid cars. What are your thoughts? When it comes time to buy a car, would you consider a hybrid?