It might look like your conventional plastic, but it really isn’t. It’s made up of fish waste and algae. In other words, if in an unfortunate moment it goes to the ocean, the plastic could be eaten safely by a fish. Called MarinaTex, this plastic won this year’s James Dyson Award.
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“It began with my desire to work with waste,” says Lucy Hughes, a recent graduate from the U.K.’s University of Sussex, who began developing the material as a student. Through a contact at the university, Hughes visited a fish processing plant to see the massive quantity of waste generated by the industry and find new ways to use it. She focused on fish skins and scales. “When I had it in my hands, I realized this has got potential,” she says. “It’s super strong and flexible and pliable.”
Hughes spent months experimenting with fish waste in her kitchen, running more than 100 experiments to find a binder and a process that could hold together the proteins in the fish skins and scales. “I had a lot of failed attempts—a lot of things either went too brittle or too gooey or somewhat moldy,” she says. She finally landed on a type of algae that can be locally sourced.
More details about this wonderful invention over at Fast Company.
(Image Credit: Dyson)