The growing number of plastic bags being introduced to ocean systems is causing marine animals to accidentally consume harmful plastics, eventually leading to gut impaction and death. Regular plastic bags do not degrade and rely on individuals to recycle them to prevent permanent pollution. Current biodegradable plastic bags require industrial composting and are not digestible in many marine gastrointestinal (GI) systems. Using algae agar, we synthesized a plastic material that can digest in marine GI systems with the structural integrity to hold common grocery items. Our novel solution does not rely on the consumer to recycle their plastic, avoids the use of industrial composting, and breaks down in marine GI systems.

Full Poster: Marine Gut Impaction & Alternative Plastic