Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fishy Plastic

It is estimated people in the UK use 5m tonnes of plastic every year, nearly half of which is packaging. Only 51% of local authorities in England have separate food waste collections and even where recycling schemes are in place, the majority of bio and compostable plastics are not generally suited to existing waste treatment infrastructures.

A bio-plastic made of organic fish waste that would otherwise end up in landfill, with the potential to replace plastic in everyday packaging. To tackle the dual problems of environmentally harmful single-use plastics and inefficient waste streams by harnessing fish offcuts to create an eco-friendly plastic alternative, a biodegradable and compostable material called MarinaTex, can break down in a soil environment in four to six weeks and be disposed of through home food waste collections.
It uses red algae to bind proteins extracted from fish skins and scales, creating strong overlapping bonds in a translucent and flexible sheet material. Although it looks and feels like plastic, initial testing suggests it is stronger, safer and much more sustainable than its oil-based counterpart. An estimated 492,020 tonnes of fish waste are produced by the fish processing industry every year in the UK and it is considered a huge and inefficient waste stream with low commercial value. Unwanted offcuts include offal, blood, crustacean and shellfish exoskeletons and fish skin and scales, all of which ends up in landfill or incineration.  A single Atlantic cod could generate the organic waste needed for 1,400 bags of MarinaTex.

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