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Good News Friday: New Technology Allows Seaweed to Replace Plastics

The world has, at last, realized the dangers that are caused by plastic pollution, which has led to thousands of experts working on alternatives to plastic. The company LOLIWARE has an exciting new development that could dramatically reduce the number of single-use plastics being thrown away.

Photo Credit: Loliware

An Exciting New Alternative

It seems that the oceans themselves may offer an alternative to the single-use plastics that pollute them. LOLIWARE’s SEA Technology™ combines seaweed with minerals and natural colors to produce a bioplastic that breaks down completely

The new material requires no investment from manufacturers, the pellets can be used in standard plastic-manufacturing machinery, and LOLIWARE is already geared up to produce at scale. This development promises a bioplastic that is ecologically sound and competes economically with the alternatives.

The seaweed is farmed without the use of fertilizers and the increase in production has another environmental benefit: seaweed beds capture up to 20 times more carbon dioxide than a similarly sized forest – or the fields of grains grown for other bioplastics.

Backed by Marine Scientists

The new product has the support of marine scientists. Dr. Carlos M. Duarte, an authority on many areas of marine ecology and based at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, says “LOLIWARE’s SEA Technology™ is the first seaweed-derived material to be created using entirely natural, ocean-friendly ingredients that’s also suitable for large-scale production.”

Sinclair & Rush is one of the first companies to embrace this new material. Their CEO, Brad Philip, says he is delighted the business has teamed up with LOLIWARE: “We have been approached by dozens of companies who claimed that they had developed a truly compostable, non-plastic material that could be processed on our existing manufacturing equipment – LOLIWARE was the first company that had a material and a business model that truly seemed viable.”

LOLIWARE'S Edible Straws

The Future’s Bright for Seaweed Bioplastics

LOLIWARE is not the only company using seaweed to make bioplastics. In March 2021, the Sway startup won the Beyond the Bag Initiative. They make replacements for plastic packaging that are home compostable and (like LOLIWARE) use seaweed as the raw material. It has got financial backing and is expected to begin trial production this year.

Some 500 billion plastic bags are used annually across the globe and less than 15% of these get recycled.  According to co-founder and CEO, Julia Marsh, Sway’s replacement will disappear in four to six weeks. Once the pilots are successful, Sway is looking to up production with the help of initiative partners Walmart, Target, and CVS Health.

So it seems the oceans and seas of the world may hold the answer to one of its biggest problems: plastic pollution. This technology could be a major player in producing a carbon-neutral planet and is certainly something we’re excited about!