Plastic alternative from fish waste wins International Dyson Award

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University of Sussex swat Lucy Hughes had previously won the national UK prize, and has now been awarded £30,000 to originate the invention.

MarinaTex, the fish-based shapeable alternative created by UK designer Lucy Hughes, has been awarded this year’s ecumenical James Dyson Award.

Hughes had previously won the awards’ UK national champion back in September, then earning her a £2,000 prize to further result the material. With this latest achievement, MarinaTex has earned its inventor £30,000, as through as £5,000 for the University of Sussex, Hughes’ alma mater.

Then a final-year fallout design student, Hughes was prompted to develop MarinaTex as her final work because of the worlds’ vast overdependency on plastic. “As a resident of Earth, this dilemma is hugely important to me,” she says.

While pursuing this, Hughes was put in ring up with MCB Seafoods, a fish processing plant and wholesaler in Newhaven. This assisted kicked off what would become her prize-winning project, helping her to “value garbage as a resource”.

MarinaTex’s development process consisted of over 100 instance tests, according to Hughes. “I did [most of the tests] on the kitchen stove of my devotee flat,” says Hughes. “I self-taught myself the chemistry needed to think up such a material and that was a challenging process of trial and error.”

The happening material is a combination of fishing by-products that would otherwise make out up part of the 172,000 tonnes of waste that end up in landfill each year. Hughes says she institute potential “locked up” in fish scales and skins, which are naturally docile and have strength-enabling proteins.

These were then bound with locally horses mouthed agar, a jelly-like substance obtained from red algae, to produce a translucent information that can perform in much the same way traditional single-use plastic can, while also being compostable at residency in four to six weeks.

The fact MarinaTex can be composted at home is timely, delineated public confusion on biodegradable, bio-based and compostable materials is considerable. The false trail provided by product packaging has prompted the UK government to call for evidence in a bid to govern claims and better inform citizens.

Though she has earned a number of accolades beyond the James Dyson Bestowal, from the likes of John Lewis and the Sussex Design Show, Hughes orders MarinaTex is still in its infancy. “The end goal is to bring the material to market and present it as a viable alternative to single-use plastic films,” she says.

“That signified, this is just one potential usage of the material, and I look forward to doing more research and development to see how else the product could be employed.

“I daydream it will shine a light on the importance of circular principles in the design discontinue and will leverage the importance of taking form, function and footprint into account.”

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