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UK Student Designs Bioplastic out of Fish Scales and Skin


UK student invents new-generation bioplastics. Can this be the solution to one of the world’s biggest pollution problems?

It is this time of the year again, when James Dyson, well known British Inventor, awards his annual prize to the most talented student designer. With so many young brains currently mesmerizing the world with their inventions, the competition is fierce.

It is not a surprise that the dominating emerging technology this year addresses environmental concerns. Climate change, climate crisis, pollution, clean energy, recycling, these are all topics that have finally (although a little too late) received the attention they deserve. These are the topics that inspired young inventors to fight for protecting our precious nature and look for ways to help the global cause.

Meet Lucy Hughes, a graduate from University of Sussex, who addresses the topics of plastic pollution, single use plastics and waste recycling in a single invention.

Lucy designed a new material, called MarinaTex bioplastic, which is made of discarded fish scales and skin. The bioplastic degrades in compost bins, while being extremely flexible, translucent and very strong. The material holds the potential to completely replace single use plastics in plastic bags and sandwich wrappers. What is more, the invention takes care of the huge amounts of waste, which the fishing industry generates annually.

In order to obtain the ultimate bioplastic material, Lucy had to run more than 100 experiments. If this does not impress you enough, wait until you hear that she ran most of these on her kitchen stove in her student house.

It was all worth the effort! Not only it got her a first on her final year university project (which, believe me, at University of Sussex is quite an achievement!), but it also brought her the 30,000 pounds and super prestigious award by James Dyson. He himself stated that he is completely convinced that MarinaTex has all it needs to fully replace single-use plastics.

The next step would be that Lucy continues her research and makes sure MarinaTex keeps evolving. Hopefully, very soon, we will be seeing the product all over the shelves of our grocery stores!

Image (c) James Dyson Award


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