Plastic is actually a pretty revolutionary material -- we wouldn't want to go back to a time before it existed (just a time before people started throwing it in the ocean). But it's made from petroleum, and we haven't really got any to spare. So viable plastic alternatives -- corn plastic, algae plastic, chicken feather plastic -- could be big business. The newest approach comes from art student Erik de Laurens, who developed a plastic made out of fish scales discarded by the fishing industry. There's nothing added to it but dye for color, so you could probably throw it …
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Jess Zimmerman is the editor of Grist List.
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