Algae offers us extraordinary benefits for taking care of it. By taking care, it means controlling the population but never eradicate it totally from our environment. One way to take care of it is by harvesting it, and using it for better purpose.
On the other hand, in this era, we are obligated to find good solution for plastic. The reason is clear, because plastic pollute our planet in such way that it has never happened in history of mankind, and would not repeat after this problem is solved.
Furthermore, a lot of plastic is used to make clothing. We can see it from how many clothing products are made of polyester fabric. Of course, those products cannot decompose in nature and would end up as microplastic, polluting the land or the ocean when it is thrown away.
In this article, we will talk about the way to combine those premises, and make something that will contribute greatly to the nature. Here is an article about algae fabrics, which will be the next generation of clothing industry.
Fast Fashion Industry
Our clothing actually contributes a lot to destruction of our planet’s environment. Nowadays, we often hear a term called fast fashion, and this is the reason why clothing industry is responsible for such destructive thing to environment.
So, what’s actually fast fashion and how it affects the industry? According to Investopedia, “Fast fashion” is a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends”.
“As a result of this trend, the tradition of introducing new fashion lines on a seasonal basis is being challenged. Today, it is not uncommon for fast-fashion retailers to introduce new products multiple times in a single week to stay on-trend,” the article explained.
Fast fashion will make us consume more products to follow the trend, and no one can make sure that every single product is decomposable. Not only it consumes much more energy, but it will also contribute much more waste.
It is our choice to follow this damaging trend or choose to stay close with the nature and live in better planet. However, what if a new trend emerges offering us a clothing that will not only litter our planet, but also cleans it up instead? Meet algae fabric that can literally breathe.
Several companies and researchers are now developing algae fabric. The properties that they are going to invest on are its biodegradability, eco-friendly ingredient, and one more thing that makes it incredible is it can photosynthesis by itself.
And we don’t have to wait for too long, actually, because Vollebak, a company founded by ultramarathon runner Steve Tidball, is actually working on it. In addition to that, scientists at University of British Columbia, working with Canadian-Iranian designer Roya Aghighi are doing the same job with the same mission.
Vollebak’s algae t-shirt is engineered with linen combined with pulped woods from eucalyptus and beech. In addition to that, the dye that it uses is made from algae turned into special kind of ink. The company said that this t-shirt will decompose by itself after 12 weeks.
On the other hand, Aghighi and the scientists are working on making whole fabric material made of algae that can photosynthesis by itself. “It’s the first living and photosynthesizing textile, and has fashioned the material into a sheer, cloak-like garment,” scientists from University of British Columbia claimed.
Both of those products will surely contribute big assist to our masterplan to save the earth from destruction brought by fast fashion. In fact, fast fashion contributes around 10% of all greenhouse gasses emitted globally, and this is a big help.
More About Algae Fabric
Algal biotechnology is currently trending among biotechnology researchers. Not only because our planet has abundant number of algae, but also because it has the potentials to do almost anything we can imagine of.
Algae fabric is the newest innovation made using this organism, but for long, scientists have developed many kinds of bio-plastic made from algae. We have written another article talking about a product design student who created bioplastic made of fish skin and red algae.
Algae naturally photosynthesize to get food, which mean it can grow well with three basic things: sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Researchers don’t want to just create algae fabric that can biodegrade, but they also want to create textile that can absorb carbon.
Charlotte McCurdy, a designer who also explored the idea to create algae fabric to create raincoat, said that the process is so simple to make use of algae for clothing industry. microalgae can easily be made into powder, and then processed into fabric with minimum effort.
However, McCurdy didn’t mean to make the innovation as bioplastic replacement for polyester. Polyester is one of the most common kind of plastic used in textile industry. Instead, they mean to make the algae fabric to sequester carbon.
Carbon Negative Fashion
Talking further about algae’s ability to absorb carbon, based on what we have talked earlier, we must know that it means we don’t want to kill the organism to create the fabric. Aghighi imagined that in such way, people will tend their clothes by giving it water and expose it to sunlight.
In this case, it means that we are going toward a branch of textile industry whose product can do photosynthesis. Thus, instead of producing more carbon to the atmosphere for each piece of cloth produced, we can absorb more carbon with every piece of it.
This is what’s called as carbon negative fashion. When carbon negative clothing is finally released worldwide, we can no longer worry about the impact of our fashion needs. This is the innovation that we all basically dream of.
For long, environmental startups all around the world have proposed clothing made of plants such as cactus, bamboo, and beechwood. But none of them can reach zero carbon emission. Algae fabric is the only idea reasonable to reach the standard by contributing to carbon absorption after it is produced.
More than that, if the clothing lasts long enough, the products will reach carbon negative instead.
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