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The award-winning alternative to single-use plastic films

Date: 25-Nov-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Lucy Hughes was inspired to create MarinaTex after seeing firsthand the waste produced by the fishing industry. Image: Nguyen Linh/Unsplash © Nguyen Linh/Unsplash

Lucy Hughes was inspired to create MarinaTex after seeing firsthand the waste produced by the fishing industry. Image: Nguyen Linh/Unsplash

An incredible new type of “plastic” packaging made from fish waste and algae could be key to feeding fish rather than killing them.

The material, called MarinaTex, is a plastic alternative that provides all the advantages of other bio-based plastics but doesn’t require industrial composting processes to break down. Instead, MarinaTex offers all the tensile strength and other qualities of LDPE plastic but biodegrades naturally in just 4-6 weeks. 

The material is the brainchild of Lucy Hughes, a recent graduate from the University of Sussex who first came up with the idea whilst investigating waste generation by the local fisheries industry. After seeing first-hand the huge amounts of fish waste (think skins and scales) being thrown away, Hughes decided something had to be done to bring circularity to the industry.

After months of experimentation, Hughes eventually came up with a method of binding the fish proteins using a locally sourced type of algae and this became MarinaTex. Not only does it offer a circular solution to fish waste, it also addresses the issue of marine plastic pollution as the material breaks down in the same way food does. That also means that if fish or other marine life ate the material, it wouldn’t be hazardous to their health.

“I’ve yet to work out the nutritional value for fish but the core ingredients are proteins from fish and algae, so that’s already kind of the diet of a fish anyway,” Hughes told FastCompany

MarinaTex recently won the James Dyson award, which celebrates the most significant innovations in design. Hughes plans to continue research and patent the product as she prepares for manufacturing.


Positive Action

  • The best action one can take to make a difference to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce consumption of plastics, especially the single-use variety. Check out our Zero Waste Kit for ideas on reusable alternatives.
  • Better managing our food waste also helps us reduce our plastic consumption. For advice, see our article on how to do better with food waste.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

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Liam                                              Taylor

Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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