[ti:Inventor Wins Prize for ‘Plastic’ From Fish Waste]
[00:00.04]A 23-year-old British woman has invented a product she hopes will one day replace single-use plastic.
[00:11.88]The new product is made by combining fishing waste and algae.
[00:19.16]It could be used to replace plastic bags or containers that people use once and throw away.
[00:29.28]Lucy Hughes created the material, called MarinaTex, for her final year project at the University of Sussex.
[00:40.26]The Reuters news agency says she continued her research after she left the university.
[00:49.80]On November 13, the James Dyson Foundation announced
[00:56.03]that Hughes was the international winner of the 2019 James Dyson Award for design.
[01:06.60]MarinaTex is edible, meaning it can be eaten without danger.
[01:13.40]Hughes says it also is strong and stable.
[01:17.73]But unlike plastic, MarinaTex biodegrades in four to six weeks
[01:26.22]under normal conditions and does not pollute the soil.
[01:32.32]The inventor said she is concerned about the growing amounts of plastics in ocean waters.
[01:41.11]She noted one report that there would be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by the year 2050.
[01:52.60]The United Nations estimates that 100 million tons of plastic waste has already been left in the oceans.
[02:04.08]Hughes also was investigating ways to reduce the amount of waste from the fishing industry.
[02:12.02]The industry produces an estimated 50 million tons of waste worldwide each year, UN officials say.
[02:25.36]Hughes told Reuters that she was "trying to work out
[02:30.30]how I could use [the] waste stream and add value to that waste."
[02:37.92]Examining fish parts left over from processing helped to give her the idea
[02:45.37]for a material that was useful and did not harm the environment.
[02:53.28]"Why do we need to have hundreds of man-made polymers
[02:58.03]when nature has so many already available?" she asked.
[03:04.48]To create a strong material, Hughes added the molecule chitosan,
[03:10.96]which comes from sea creatures like crabs, and agar, a substance from red algae.
[03:20.36]After months of testing, Hughes produced a strong,
[03:25.10]flexible sheet that forms at temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.
[03:33.92]Inventor James Dyson said that MarinaTex is "stronger, safer
[03:41.71]and much more sustainable" than the plastic polyethylene.
[03:47.92]It is also easier to break down, or compost, than other possible replacement products
[03:56.28]for polyethylene, the material that single-use plastic bags are made of.
[04:04.08]Hughes will receive about $41,000 in prize money
[04:11.08]as the first place winner of the James Dyson Award.
[04:16.61]She told Reuters that she plans to use the money
[04:21.48]to further develop the product and ways to mass produce it.
[04:27.64]"Further research and development will ensure that MarinaTex evolves further,
[04:35.29]and...becomes part of a global answer to the abundance of single use plastic waste," Dyson said.
[04:46.64]I'm Mario Ritter Jr.