Lucy Hughes, a University of Sussex student, has created nothing short of disruption for the plastics industry. If it’s not already evident from the video, she has created a practical solution to one of the biggest sustainability challenges – plastic waste. Not only that, but through the use of the discarded fish skin and scales as a key ingredient for the bio-plastic, named MarinaTex she has addressed another massive problem; 50 million tonnes of waste produced globally by the fishing industry every year.
Plastic waste, and waste in general, is an inconceivably big problem. We are privy to the amount of waste we produce as individuals and maybe in the places where we work and maybe the cities we live in but in reality, nobody sees the entirety of waste that is produced globally. Even if you tried, you’d probably fail because there’s more waste in the place you checked 5 minutes ago. Net net – we need alternatives. Alternatives that are biodegradable and not degrading our environment. The plastics used to create the most environmentally damaging items like fishing gear, plastic bags, utensils, balloons, cigarette butts and bottle caps, are replaceable. Some are easier to replace than others and Lucy Hughes has given us one such alternative to single use plastic films and it is impressive, to say the very least.
Tying directly in with SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 14 Life Below Water, the young Briton has produced a piece of work that experts in the field are equally inspired by. No wonder she has won the James Dyson International Award, as well as being recognised by the World Economic Forum, BBC, Reuters and more!
MarinaTex epitomises the type of innovation we need in order to achieve a sustainable future and so a huge thank you to Lucy for her innovative and inspiring work. The next steps for MarinaTex involve further research and development, with an aim to be in production by 2021 and what an exciting journey this will be. So many potential applications for bioplastics and so much potential for positive environmental impact as a result. Check out the website to learn more about why MarinaTex, and the young innovator behind it, is going to become the next big player in the fast-changing plastics industry.
The Great Bubble Barrier. Even the name sounds so cool, wait till you hear about what they are all about. The Dutch start up, based in North Amsterdam, have this ambitious yet evidently achievable mission: “To remove as much plastic as possible from the environment. We do this by clearing as many flowing inland waterways in the world from plastics, as possible. This way we want to improve water quality and thereby quality of life for humans and animals.” (The Great Bubble Barrier Website). Their mission is one we can all get behind because the effect of plastic pollution is becoming more publicised but the unique selling point of this start-up is the way they set out to achieve it.
Co-founders Francis Zoet, Saskia Studer and Anne Marieke Eveleens have found an application for existing bubble technology used currently during oil spillages, in the many waterways of Amsterdam. By diagonally placing a tube at the bed of the waterway and pumping oxygen through it, the waste within the waterway is thrust to the surface. The Bubble Barrier then guides the plastic, using the natural current, to a catchment system on the side of the waterway. One major benefit is that this stops the waste on its way to the ocean, as well as increasing the amount of oxygen in the eco-system – another major benefit for the marine life that live there.
I really like this business. They have innovated existing technology so well and what’s more is that it is easily scalable and doesn’t require changes to policies or infrastructure. They’ve even come first in the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge and got a major boost for their business development!
The Great Bubble Barrier are working towards a purpose that ties in predominantly to SDG 14 Life Below Water, but also can be seen to positively impact SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. A great deal of applause for the team at The Great Bubble Barrier for the huge strides they take towards a sustainable future! Make sure you check out their website and the Green Challenge to learn more about the The Great Bubble Barrier.