Junior’s eco-friendly invention reduces pollution


By Andrew Bucko, T/E Life Editor

Cutting down on waste and pollution is becoming an increasing part of modern consumerism. Junior Aaron Li recently collaborated to design an all-natural product that furthers the mission to reduce waste and toxins that enter the planet. 

“We made an air freshener that relies on clay and essential oils to produce a natural fresh scent for cars and smaller rooms,” Li said. 

The program Li is involved in, called Junior Achievement, pairs students with companies to help them foster innovation and learn business skills.  

“Currently we’re working with Ikea to produce and manufacture our product,” Li said. There are other branches that work with different companies and they all compete with each other in a competition.” 

Li and his group sought to compete in a way that was practical and environmentally friendly. Li was inspired to create his air freshener as a means of reducing the pollution created by competing products on the current market.  

“Many air fresheners are aerosols and use chemicals that aren’t naturally occurring”, Li said. “They can be a source of pollutants like cfc’s which damage the ozone layer and produce plastic that doesn’t biodegrade.” 

Designing the earth-saving air freshener was relatively straightforward, but Li and his team had to get creative when it came to actual production. 

“We initially planned on making the molds of the clay ourselves, but because of an insurance glitch we had to outsource to a supplier on Etsy,” Li said. “She makes products out of similar materials to the polymer clay that we use, so it was a pretty good transition.” 

Regardless of how Li’s team does at their first regional competition in April, he said the experience has been rewarding. 

“Junior Achievement definitely taught me all of the aspects that go into running a business,” Li said. “It also taught me how to manage people and come up with ideas that are important and decide which ideas are best to pass on.” 

Andrew Bucko can be reached at [email protected]