Has an alternative to plastic just been discovered in Australia? Hopes are rising as researchers discovered that a bee, the native Hylaeus nubilosus masked bee, produces a "cellophane-like" material for its nests.
The nesting material is non-toxic, waterproof, flame-resistant and able to withstand heat. A biotech company in Australia is currently trying to recreate the material, in the hope of being able to mass produce it as an alternative to plastic.
"It's about biomimicry, about copying what's in the natural environment, and we've been doing it in design for centuries, from plane wing design inspired by birds of prey to train shapes reflecting bird beaks," said Veronica Harwood-Stevenson, founder of Humble Bee.