Agar: the gelatinous material obtained from marine algae | Photo: AMAM

A group of Japanese designers and engineers has developed a gelatinous material obtained from marine algae that can be used to replace plastic.

When Akira Muraoka, Kosuke Araki, and Noriaki Maetani reached the final of the Lexus Design Award 2016, they knew they had invented something special.

Because seaweed-derived agar might be the smartest alternative to plastic.

"Sold in a dry state, agar shows a porous, feathery structure and is very light despite its volume. We have taken notice of these features and have been exploring its possibility as packaging material," the team behind AMAM explains.

"After use, agar products can be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way. It can serve as a material to improve the water-retention property of the soil, and should it drift in the sea, it would not harm marine lives."

Agar Plasticity—the product name—is a moldable and biodegradable substance. It can be used as a packaging material and a cushioning material.

Agar can be extracted from two kinds of red algae. Hopefully, in the medium term, it will represent a viable alternative to the never-ending plastic era.

Did you know our planet uses more than one million bags per minute? Learn how to reduce the use of plastics.

Agar: is this the alternative to plastic? | Photo: AMAM

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