Innovation That Matters

Lucy, with MarinaTex plastic | Photo source

Student creates biodegradable plastic wrap from fish waste


The material has the potential to reduce waste related to single-use plastics and the fish processing industry

Spotted: A recent Sussex University graduate has developed a chemical-free, biodegradable, plastic-like material. Named MarinaTex, it is made from fish waste and aims to reduce plastic waste.

MarinaTex is as thin as traditional plastic film, but stronger. Unlike some other bioplastics, it does not contain chemicals, according to its creator Lucy Hughes.

The secret of the material is the fish scales and skins, according to Hughes. Both are naturally flexible and have strength-enabling proteins. Hughes combined the fish waste with agar, a jelly-like substance that can be locally sourced from red algae. That produced a clear material that mimics single-use plastics, but biodegrades in four to six weeks.

Hughes developed MarinaTex as a student at Sussex University. She says most of the experimenting with the binding process was done at her student house kitchen.

MarinaTex recently won first place in the annual James Dyson Award competition. However, Hughes says that more work is needed on MarinaTex before it can be launched for commercial use.




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