Do you feel guilty every time you buy a plastic bag? How would you feel if that plastic bag was made from dead fish?
That could soon be the reality according to Dyson, who crowned MarinaTex, a bioplastic made from "fish offcuts", its coveted James Dyson Award.
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Designed by student Lucy Hughes, MarinaTex is made of a mixture of "organic fish waste ordinarily destined for landfill or incineration," and locally sourced red algae.
The result is a "translucent and flexible sheet material", which makes it ideal for single-use packaging – like grocery bags and perishable food containers.
With 492,020 tonnes of fish waste produced in the UK annually, MarinaTex could prove to be an eco-friendly and lucrative way of using up by-products that would otherwise be headed straight to the landfill.
Hughes and MarinaTex will now go through to the international round of the competition, for a chance to win £30,000 – as well as £5000 for her university department.
Should Hughes succeed in brining the innovative bioplastic to the market, it could reduce the five million tonnes of plastic we use in the UK every year – whether consumers will feel squeamish about packing their food into bags made from fish guts remains to be seen.
It also raises questions about whether people who avoid using animal products will be happy to use this particular bioplastic; still if it proves an effective solution to the plastic problem, it might be enough to sway even the staunchest vegans among us.