A Viable Plastic Packaging Alternative Has Been Developed | Valdamark Flexible Packaging

In recent years, environmental concerns have put plastic packaging under more scrutiny.

Fish

This has led to a surge in innovation for new and sustainable alternatives as companies look to provide their customers with packaging that is both convenient and eco-friendly.

From biodegradable paper wraps to cardboard cartons, the materials currently being used and developed are helping reduce single-use plastic waste. These innovative solutions are creating a healthier environment by reducing the number of unrecycled plastics filling our landfills, oceans, and other habitat areas. We've just scratched the surface of what's possible when it comes to eco-friendly packaging materials initiatives.

Small businesses and large corporations alike continue the search for new products that can be used as an alternative to plastic packaging and be suitable for being widely recycled.

One of the newest initiative designs has been created by a product design graduate called Lucy Hughes who has developed a viable plastic packaging alternative from fish waste. Normally organic fish waste ends up in landfills.

Packaging from Fish Waste

Lucy Hughes, a graduate of product design at the University of Sussex, has been awarded the prestigious James Dyson Design Award for her ingenious work. Drawing from an unlikely source - fish offcuts - Lucy has developed an eco-friendly plastic packaging solution that replaces damaging single-use plastics and optimises waste management processes.

MarinaTex is a revolutionary, biodegradable, and compostable material that offers an eco-friendly way to dispose of everyday waste. This innovative solution can decompose in soil within just six weeks - making it the perfect choice for those looking to minimize their environmental impact!

Combining the strength of protein from fish scales and skin with red algae, Hughes devised an overlapping cross-linking process to create a translucent material that is surprisingly robust yet incredibly flexible, that feels just like plastic.
Extensive research has unveiled that MarinaTex is not just a superior but also an ecologically sound alternative to plastic, boasting unrivalled strength and safety.

Plastic Packaging - The Facts

Every year, the UK produces millions of tonnes of plastic packaging waste - and this is having a damaging impact on our environment. This unsustainable practice contributes to not only global climate change but increases levels of air pollution as well as water contamination. With huge amounts being produced annually in

Britain alone it's becoming ever more important that we find solutions for reducing single-use plastic items and work towards effective eco-friendly alternatives.

It is estimated that the UK goes through a staggering five million tonnes of plastic each year with about half of this being made up of packaging. Even more alarming is the fact that only 51% of councils and local authorities in England have separate food waste collections. For those recycling schemes that are in place, they are largely unsuitable for the waste treatment centres and current infrastructure in general.

Despite the UK's ongoing commitment to reduce plastic waste, its recycling efforts are still inadequate. With only a fraction of plastic being recycled and disposal processes continuing to contaminate land and water sources, it is clear more must be done for us to achieve our environmental targets.

How Could Fish Waste Help?

When compared to plastic waste it is estimated that fish waste is around 492,000 tonnes per year. Discarded fish by-products, from blood to shells and everything in between, are too often sent off exclusively to landfills or incinerators. This is a significant waste of resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Hughes' research uncovered the incredible potential of skin and scales as a sustainable, flexible packaging materials solution which is mainly due to its flexibility and strength-promoting structure. For example, just one Atlantic cod has the potential organic waste needed to create over 1,500 flexible pouches of MarinaTex.

Fish waste is totally compostable being made up wholly of biodegradable material which means if the idea is moved forward, it could slow down the need for normal plastic production and make packaging material even more recyclable, which is the perfect move to a packaging world of sustainability.

The James Dyson Design Awards

The James Dyson Design Awards is an annual celebration of design talent focused on engineering, demonstrating what is possible through inventive and innovative solutions.

Founded by celebrated industrial designer and engineer James Dyson, the awards challenge students worldwide to think differently, design intelligently, and engineer their product solutions with a sustainable future in mind. With cash prizes, mentorship opportunities, and international recognition, this award is a great platform for young engineering minds to develop projects that address real-world problems.

Upon entering the competition, entrants can access resources such as subject matter experts and 3D CAD software to develop meaningful digital prototypes. Open to all students studying product design or engineering undergraduate degrees or higher, the James Dyson Design Awards are designed to provide aspiring engineers with valuable inspiration and motivation.
Eco-Friendly packaging alternatives always produce positive feedback at the awards.

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