this 100% plant and algae T-shirt can biodegrade in just 12 weeks

this 100% plant and algae T-shirt can biodegrade in just 12 weeks

vollebak, the clothing company behind the jacket that reflects every color in the visible spectrum, has now created a T-shirt using just plants and algae. as the shirt is made from pulped eucalyptus and beech from sustainably managed forests, and algae grown in bioreactors, it will biodegrade in just 12 weeks. ‘the only thing different about this T-shirt is that it grew in soil and water, and that’s where it’s designed to end up too,’ explains vollebak co-founder, steve tidball. ‘all you need to do is remember to compost it at the end of its life. here it will biodegrade with them, turn into soil, and help new plants to grow.’



the design of the T-shirt is made entirely from algae. to turn it into a printable ink vollebak used the same technique used in kenya to create algae cake. instead of passing lake water through a cotton net, the design team passed water from the bioreactor through a filter. this process separated the algae, leaving a soupy algae paste. this paste was then dried in the sun to create a fine powder, which was mixed with a water-based binder to make algae ink.



this ink is then printed onto a shirt made of wood pulp. eucalyptus, beech, and spruce were chipped and pulped, before being turned into fiber, then yarn, and finally fabric. all the wood is harvested from sustainable forestry plantations and is certified by the programme for the endorsement of forest certification (PEFC) — the largest forest certification system in the world.



‘algae can’t survive once it’s removed from water, so the algae on the T-shirt is no longer alive,’ tidball continues. ‘and because it started life as a plant rather than a chemical dye, the natural pigment in algae is more sensitive and won’t behave like color normally does on clothing. as soon as it comes into contact with air it starts to oxidize, which means the green will begin to change color and your T-shirt may look different from one week to the next as it fades, making every T-shirt unique.’ the product will soon be on sale, however you can find out more about the shirt, and join the waiting list, here.



project info:


design: vollebak
price: £85 / €105 / $110
available in one color edition: off-white/ algae-green
more info: product waiting list

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