Plastic from fish guts. It's biodegradable, too

Meet Lucy Hughes!

She's 23, a product design student at England's University of Sussex, spends a lot of time handling fish guts, and just won the James Dyson Award for design.

What did she make from these leftovers that's so great?

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LUCY HUGHES, DYSON AWARD WINNER, SAYING:

"I created 'MarinaTex' for my final year project. It's a biodegradable material sourced from organic materials. So using waste from the fishing industry (...) and combining it to create a plastic film alternative."

MarinaTex: marina like the place for boats, tex like textile, all made from the bits that people don't like to eat.

Especially, she says, the fishes' skin and scales. Other ingredients include red algae and the shells from crustaceans.

It took her over 100 different experiments before she found the right formula, with a little help from Internet communities that specialize in bioplastics.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LUCY HUGHES, DYSON AWARD WINNER, SAYING:

"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?"

Plastic pollution is big problem for the world, so Hughes hopes that more use of biodegradable alternatives like her MarinaTex will help.

She says it can be used to replace items like plastic shopping bags and tissue boxes.

The James Dyson Award granted her about $40,000.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LUCY HUGHES, DYSON AWARD WINNER, SAYING:

"It's going to hugely help in developing MarinaTex. So entering the next stage of R and D and also a huge kickstart in hopefully producing this worldwide."