New Bioplastics Could Change the Entire Plastics Industry

Our world uses billions of pounds of single-use plastics every year. Most of these products come from a foundation of petroleum processing. That means some chemicals can leech into the environment when they are not disposed of correctly.

Bioplastics are possible because the hydrocarbons from organic materials can go through the same refining processes as petroleum-based ones. The cost is higher, which is why it remains more of a specialty product.

Inventor Lucy Hughes has an alternative bioplastics product that could change everything about the industry. Her plastic is made from fish scales and skin to create a durable, flexible item with a higher tensile strength than the materials found in plastic bags.

Over 100 Experiments Were Necessary to Reach the Final Design

Hughes found that agar was the best binding agent to use for her material that she calls MarinaTex. It is the gelatinous substance found in the cell walls of red algae.

The waste products from a single Atlantic cod is enough to produce over 450 bags made from MarinaTex.

No virgin natural materials go into the product. As the world starts banning single-use plastic products like straws and bottles, inventions like this one could have immediate marketability.

The potential of MarinaTex does not go unnoticed by industry experts. Hughes won the James Dyson award in the United Kingdom for her invention. She is also in the running for the international award.

“This shows that the sustainable option does not sacrifice quality,” Hughes says.

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