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 in the ocean and the ocean wouldn't even care!

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