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UK student invented bio-plastic made of fish waste

492,020 tonnes of fish waste from fish processing are produced in the UK annually. Lucy Hughes, from the University of Sussex, saw potential in this waste stream for a new form of bio-plastic: MarinaTex is a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic, made of organic fish waste ordinarily destined for landfill or incineration and locally sourced red algae. Her idea has been named this year’s UK national James Dyson Award winner.

MarinaTex is said to be stronger, safer and more sustainable than the usual plastic. It is home compostable, and disintegrates in the food waste disposal at home within 4-6 week, so doesn’t require its own national waste management infrastructure.

The material is relatively resource-light, requiring little energy and temperatures under 100 degrees to produce. It could be used in a wide range of single-use packaging including sandwich containers and tissue boxes. According to Lucy, one Atlantic cod could generate as much organic waste as is needed for making 1,400 bags of MarinaTex.

Lucy Hughes said: “Plastic is an amazing material, and as a result, we have become too reliant on it as designers and engineers. It makes no sense to me that we’re using plastic, an incredibly durable material, for products that have a life-cycle of less than a day.”

Image: Pixabay

MarinaTex – a bioplastic made from fish waste

James Dyson Award UK winner 2019, Lucy Hughes from the University of Sussex, has invented MarinaTex, a home compostable bioplastic made from fish waste and red algae. It can be used to replace single use plastic packaging.

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