UK's design graduate develops fish scale bioplastic as an alternative for single-use plastic

The product 'MarinaTex' has also won 2019's James Dyson Award. The unique bioplastic looks like regular plastic, but unlike the latter, it can be consumed by a fish if it threw into the ocean.

Lucy Hughes who is a product design graduate from the University of Sussex has invented a biodegradable material from fish waste and algae as a replacement for single-use plastic sheets.

The product 'MarinaTex' has also won 2019's James Dyson Award. The unique bioplastic looks like regular plastic, but unlike the latter, it can be consumed by a fish if it threw into the ocean. It is made up of a translucent material and is more effective than low-density polyethene. 

It can be a great alternative to various plastic products like carry bags, sandwich packs and other packaging products. The material is biodegradable in 4-6 weeks naturally. The temperature needed for the production is below 100 degrees. Hughes had created MarinaTex as a final year project at the university. She was intrigued to develop something out of waste products. 

Later through a university tutor, the young girl reached out to MCB Seafoods which is a fish processing plant and a wholesaler in Newhaven, England. After taking a plant tour, she classified various waste streams to work with like fishes' waste, blood, crustacean and shellfish exoskeletons. After researching for a couple of months, she worked on fish skins and scales as both have more strength.

As per the official website, the product has undergone 100 different experiments. The website reads, "Another unique feature about the material is that it is partly comprised of a waste stream. This reduces strain on resources and diverts waste from landfill. It is also part of a sea plant. This crop does not need freshwater or fertilisers to grow and locks in carbon. Furthermore, the material has been shown to have a higher tensile strength than LDPE at the same thifresh wateris shows that the sustainable option does not sacrifice quality".