Aswath Rajesh, a DeLaura Middle School eighth grader, flanks his award-winning project at the Merritt Square Mall.

In the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” Mr. McGuire tells a young Benjamin Braddock, “There’s a future in plastics.”

Flash forward more than half a century, and Aswath Rajesh, the Best of Show winner at the Brevard Regional Science and Engineering Fair, will espouse the same idea but with an environmentally conscious twist.

Plastic, in its current incarnation, is largely responsible for the landfill mountain ranges that provide ill-gotten scenery for the nation’s highways, taking anywhere from upward of 1,000 years to biodegrade. Even then, the remnants can have toxicity levels.

Rajesh, an eighth grader at DeLaura Middle School, is spreading the word of a future in which a bioplastic is made from renewable sources such as paper and food waste versus traditional plastic, which is made of fossil fuels. In one of his experiments, using the earth from a houseplant, he buried a bioplastic which he created.

In two months, there were no visible traces of it. Environmental benefits notwithstanding, the very nature of bioplastic material guarantees a renewable source in its production, birthing the term circular bio-economy. While current bioplastic materials are single-use products, he envisions a future in which “with research and money, it will eventually replace regular plastic.”

Rajesh’s project was displayed and evaluated at the Merritt Square Mall, where judges from the corporate science world and educational circles recognized its merit. The incredibly detailed display included charts, graphs and pictures assessing how bioplastics interact with environmental factors, such as water resistance, how it can be made stronger and what starch sources might be most suitable for its production.

“My goal is to make my bioplastic out of 100% waste,” he said, “so that all waste produced is used for something else.”

Conservation of resources and protecting the environment are passions for the young man, who frequently volunteers for beach and park cleanups. His mission is to share this passion with others, and it includes a Zoom meeting for the middle of April. Details for how to participate can be accessed at his website,

When he is not engaged in making positive contributions to the world, the 13 year old can be found playing video games, enjoying chess or kayaking. He will enroll at Viera High School in August and looks forward to the rigor of AP coursework and a college pursuit of technological studies.

There is a future in bioplastics, but its course and viability is still being determined. Mr. McGuire appears to have been right to some extent, but the ice cubes in his martini glass couldn’t reflect the intricacies involved.