World Teen - Main Article
Signup Teachers & Parents
This Takes Guts!
News Bytes 11/22/2019 25 Comments


By now you’ve heard about the problem: All of Creation seems to be full of plastic pollution, including the world’s oceans. Could the solution to that problem also be found in those same waters?

Meet Lucy Hughes. She’s a 23-year-old product design student at England’s University of Sussex. Lucy spends a lot of time handling fish guts, and she just won a design award for it! The James Dyson Award recognizes students who “design something that solves a problem.” 

Lucy opens a giant plastic bin filled with a slimy assortment of entrails. What did she make from these reeking leftovers that deserved the attention of the Dyson committee?

“I created ‘MarinaTex’ for my final year project. It’s a biodegradable material sourced from organic materials. So [I’m] using waste from the fishing industry and combining it to create a plastic film alternative,” she says.

MarinaTex is a word combo. It combines marina, as in a place for boats, and texfrom textile. Hughes’ plastic alternative is made from the bits of food fish that people don’t like to eat. Especially, Lucy says, she uses the fishes’ skin and scales. Other ingredients include red algae and shells from crustaceans.

The student ran through more than 100 different experiments before she found the right formula. She had a little help from Internet communities that specialize in bioplastics.

“Essentially when I felt the skins and the scales in my hands, I could see that there was potential locked up in it. It was so flexible yet pliable and strong. So it struck me that nature can make so much from so little. Why do we need to have hundreds of man-made polymers when nature has so many already available?” Hughes explains.

Plastic pollution is big problem for the world. Hughes hopes that using biodegradable alternatives like MarinaTex will reduce the problem of plastic pollution, replacing items like plastic shopping bags.

The Dyson Award granted Lucy Hughes about $40,000. How will she use the money? “It’s going to hugely help in developing MarinaTex.” She plans to enter “the next stage of R and D (research and development) and also [use the funds as] a huge kickstart in hopefully producing this worldwide.”

(Product design graduate Lucy Hughes holds up a sheet of MarinaTex—an edible and compostable plastic alternative made from byproducts of the fishing industry. REUTERS/ Stuart McDill)

Leave a comment
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

1st comment

Very impressive and creative - to make a kind of plastic out of fish guts!


She really spent some time on that! I love how she took something that is seen as gross and unusable, like fish guts, and made it into something useful! :-)


That's amazing that she created something so useful out of some thing so gross!! Congratulations, Lucy Hughes! : D

Cool! You guys should watch

Cool! You guys should watch the video below this one. It's about salmon.

Pretty cool!! My older

Pretty cool!! My older brother just got back from Africa! He had some pretty cool stories!

That salmon video is cool! So

That salmon video is cool! So smart that they do that! lol

Janna @Beth H

Gross! I don't think I would be brave enough to touch those guts, but cool! @Beth H, is your brother in the military?


I could not do that.


WOw!! that salmon video was neat!! This is NA. (nodiya ay)

Oh man, I got so squeamish

Oh man, I got so squeamish just watching the video. I don't think I could touch that stuff. But, this is a really incredible idea, I especially love how Lucy Hughes said, "...Nature can make so much from so little. Why do we need to have hundreds of man-made polymers when nature has so many already available?" I support just about anything that is made of biodegradable material, because of how good it is for the environment.


My brother is not in the military he was crumbing(leaving tracts) my older sister is a Marine though!
@Arlie Yeah pretty cool! He travels to China and Mongolia too!

@ Lena P

Yes!! I would have said the same thing!! It was a little gross!! no, a LOT GrOsS!!
This is Nadia A.. NA.

@Bethsarah G


this is all i will say:




You all should see this video. It's off of WORLD kids.


Cool! I could never do that. I have some friends who are pretty good at Rubik's Cubes and once one of them tried to show me how to do it. I did not understand.

Wow that’s amazing! I haven’t

Wow that’s amazing! I haven’t even solved one of those in my whole life let alone in six seconds!

Gut some plastic?

I am getting grossed out from my home now. Sorry world. =. Well, that is nice taking fish and turning it into a plastic like substance! Cool!!!!


Did I say home??? What's wrong with my spell check ?????????? I meant joke! Not home, joke!

Eilise W

your spellcheck is really tripping you up, huh?



Cool, but a little gross....

It's great that people are working to make a plastic-like substance to replace real plastic. It's amazing!!! We can keep our planet healthy if we work together! Congrats, Lucy Hughes!! Keep up the good work!!!


I don't think I can touch all those fish guts and skins, not without gloves.

@ Maddy

Ya! it's gross!! It doesn't help that my brothers are obsessing over that video!!!!

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login