AlgiKnit is investigating biopolymers to create functional materials with a dramatically reduced environmental footprint relative to conventional agricutural and petrolum-based textiles. At the end of the product’s useful life, Algiknit’s completely biodegradable materials can be decomposed by fungi to provide the nutrients for the next generation of materials. The fashion industry is extremely pollutive and many product's use falls short of its expected lifetime; amounting to our current environmental crisis. With answers from nature, AlgiKnit hopes to bring sustainable bio-based textile alternatives into the 21st Century.
Taking inspiration from nature, where ecosystems have evolved to enable efficient utilization of energy and matter with complete recycling of biomass and nutrients, we have taken a biomimetic approach to creating wearable textiles from readily abundant biopolymers and low energy consuming organisms such as kelp. Kelp forests are one of the most rapidly replenishing organisms on Earth and can process agricultural run-off that otherwise leads to aquatic dead zones, and also act as carbon sinks.
We are developing kelp-based biomaterials in flexible form factors which are knit, woven, cast films or 3-D printed to produce sustainable textiles and footwear that operate in a closed loop life cycle and have a significantly lower environmental footprint than conventional textiles (e.g. cotton and polyester). The ability to knit a textile to shape also eliminates waste in the production phase of the product's life cycle.
Wasteful consumption and a “cradle-to-grave” life cycle of rapidly discarded and replaced products has become the baseline of “fast fashion” today. At this level of production, exorbitant amounts of clothing items are produced, carrying with them unsustainable water and carbon footprints, and generally a short lived life between being manufactured and discarded. These garments typically end up in landfills where they continue to pollute the Earth. Our goal is to bring sustainable bio-based textile alternatives into the 21st Century footwear and apparel industries.