September 19, 2019
Vollebak, a London- based startup, has started to create t shirts out of wood pulp and dyeing them with algae pigment. The shirts are compostable, so at the end of their life owners can bury the shirts in their backyard and they will biodegrade. The wood pulp is from sustainably sourced beech, spruce and eucalyptus trees, and the algae is grown in a bioreactor.
The wood from the trees is broken down and spun into textile yarn for the shirt. Once finished, the shirt is just a comfortable as a normal t shirt. The shirt is then dyed with algae pigment. The algae is passed through a filter and becomes and algae paste. This paste is then dried into an algae powder. This powder is added to a water-based binder to create the algae ink. Algae cannot survive out of water, but once the ink absorbed into the shirt, dead algae makes for a natural dye.The algae changes color over time as it fades.
The t shirt will not break down when it is being worn or even in your closet. It will only break down once it is in the ground surrounded by fungus and decomposers.
Textiles take up 7.6% of the world’s landfill mass, and the textile industry uses over 25 trillion tons of water for dyeing t shirts and other fabrics. This startup is hopefully a step towards more sustainable clothing manufacturing practices.
Check out the shirts here: https://www.vollebak.com/product/plant-and-algae-t-shirt/