Today’s Solutions: May 29, 2024

As the quest to find a viable planet-friendly alternative to plastic continues, a bioplastic made of organic fish waste has landed its UK designer a prestigious international award and a £30,000 prize.

Lucy Hughes, a graduate in product design from the University of Sussex, scooped the James Dyson award for her biodegradable and compostable material known as MarinaTex. The bioplastic is strong, translucent and flexible, making it a possible alternative for single-use packagings such as bags and sandwich wrappers. Unlike current materials used for these purposes, it breaks down in home food-waste or compost bins, and its key ingredients are fish scales and skin — waste products that MarinaTex saves from ending up in the landfill.

The annual award scheme aims to challenge young people to “design something that solves a problem” and is open to students and recent graduates in product design, industrial design, and engineering. Hughes sought to tackle the problems of environmentally harmful single-use plastics and inefficient waste streams by harnessing fish offcuts to create the eco-friendly plastic alternative. 

This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we welcome in the new year!

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