This humble Australian bee is helping to disrupt the plastics industry

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It doesn’t make honey, live in a hive or have yellow stripes, but the unassuming Australian masked bee holds the key to disrupting the trillion-dollar global plastics industry.

A biotech start-up company has found the solitary masked bee’s cellophane-like nesting material is not only water-repellent, as expected, but also resistant to flames, high temperatures and strong chemicals.

Humble Bee, based in New Zealand, is now in the process of reverse-engineering the nesting material in a bid to manufacture a biodegradable alternative to plastic on a large scale and at a competitive price.

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