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Innovative Solutions New Material Created from Fish Waste is Your Plastic Solution

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

Lucy Hughes, a UK-based student has developed MarinaTex, a substitute for single-use plastic, which is capable of biodegrading in six weeks. The new material has the potential to replace plastic used in bakery bags, sandwich packs and tissue boxes.

Lucy Hughes created an alternative to plastic – the MarinaTex.
Lucy Hughes created an alternative to plastic – the MarinaTex.
(Source: Reuters/Stuart Mc Dill)

Sussex/United Kingdom – At a time when everyone is talking about a circular economy to solve the plastic menace, a young 23 year old student, Lucy Hughes created an alternative to plastic – the MarinaTex. Produced with byproducts of the fishing industry, the new material could replace plastic used in bakery bags, sandwich packs and tissue boxes.

The making of MarinaTex

MarinaTex was formed by incorporating a mixture of scales and skin, molecules chitosan from crustaceans and agar from red algae. After testing it for many months, Hughes was able to create a strong, edible and flexible translucent sheet below 100 degrees C. The new material is claimed to be stronger than low-density polyethylene. Another plus point of MarinaTex is that it biodegrades in four to six weeks in home compost and does not contaminate soil.

The idea

Hughes was working on her final year project which focused on reducing fish waste when she came up with the MarinaTex idea. In a quote to the news organisation Reuters she said, “It was me trying to work out how I could use that waste stream and add value to that waste. When I felt the skins and the scales in my hands, I could see that there was potential locked up in it. It was so flexible, yet pliable and strong.”

Hughes’ innovation has been awarded the prestigious James Dyson award which encourages designers to go ahead with their new problem-solving ideas. With prize money of 41,000 dollars, she plans to continue to work on the material and produce it on a large scale.

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