Lucy Hughes of the University of Sussex has invented a compostable bioplastic film that’s perfect for single-use. Called MarinaTex, it’s made from fish waste and red algae, and there’s a game-changing feature of her bioplastic compared to other bioplastics: It can compost at home in just four to six weeks.
While it may look and feel like plastic, its similarities end there. In fact, it is stronger, safer and much more sustainable than its oil-based counterpart. Using a unique formula of red algae to bind the proteins extracted from fish waste, MarinaTex has strong overlapping bonds giving it strength and flexibility. The material is relatively resource-light, requiring little energy and temperatures under 100 degrees to produce. It biodegrades after four to six weeks, is suitable for home composting and does not leach toxins, removing the need for its own national waste management infrastructure.
As MarinaTex uses byproducts from the fishing industry, this helps to close the loop of an existing waste stream for a more circular product lifespan. According to Lucy, one Atlantic cod could generate as much organic waste as is needed for making 1,400 bags of MarinaTex.
File under: Innovation and Problem-Solving. Watch these videos next: Water-soluble fruit stickers, edible milk-based packaging, and 16-year-old Elif Bilgin turned banana peels into a bioplastic.
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