Plastic-Free Drinking Straws Designed to Disappear
Premium: The growing seaweed market and the new emerging startups
Welcome to the second newsletter on sustainability innovation, bringing you the most innovative people, ideas, and brands that is making a real positive impact on climate change today. Every issue covers an opportunity to make a difference for people, planet, and profit.
The VC-backed Silicon Valley startup Loliwear is turning seaweed into new living materials replacing single-use plastic. Their first product is a blue drinking straw that decomposes as fast as banana peels.
Our oceans cover 70 percent of our planet, generate 50 percent of the oxygen we need to breathe, and absorb 90 percent of the heat caused by emission. They are essential to our ecological ecosystem and survival, yet it’s where most single-plastic products end up to begin their up to a half millennia long decomposition. Loliwear, a Silicon Valley tech startup founded in 2015, is turning seaweed into plastic-free biodegradable products to solve this problem.
Their idea is simple: replace plastic pellets, the basic material used to make plastic products, with pellets made out of ocean-farmed seaweed. The seaweed pellets are compatible with machinery designed for the plastic pellets, making the seaweed pellets more scalable and affordable than other plastic-free alternatives.
The blue carbon straws, as they are marketed, are made out of proprietary seaweed, minerals, and natural colors, and designed to disappear as fast as a banana peel. Many other biodegradable products need special facilities for decompstation but the products made out of seaweed can be discarded in any backyard compost.
Drinking straws is just the beginning. Loliwear is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to fine-tune their proprietary formulations to produce seaweed made products that closely resembles the utility of plastic products. The startup has plans for plastic utensils, cups, lids, and disposable take-out containers.
They work with the Missouri-based company Sinclair & Rush, who also is one of the investors, to manufacture their products on their existing molds but have plans to offer their seaweed pellets to all manufacturers across the world to replace single-use plastic by next year.
Loliwear’s sea technology is one of many new initiatives within regenerative design, a new design mindset and concept striving to create products for a healthier, more resilient, and equitable planet, to fight the triple planetary emergency of pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
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