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Algae cups

Seaweed offers an alternative to plastic violence.

Algae cups

Producing, using, and trashing plastic catastrophically impacts humans, the human ecosystem, and the rest of the natural world. Plastic’s lifecycle harms at every stage, including the material extraction from fossil oils, the proliferation of microplastics in animals and water, and the expansion of trash piles across the earth. However, manufacturers continue to use it as a cheaply produced material for all occasions. Seaweed offers an alternative.

The Netherlands-based company Studio Klarenbeek & Dros developed biopolymers derived from seaweed to 3D print into the shape of cups, which degrade after use and contribute to the health of the oceans from start to finish. While the seaweed grows, it captures Co2 with an impressive power. Seaweed adds 10% to the world’s food supply covering only 0.03% of the ocean's surface. Microscopic algae, a type of seaweed,complete 50% of photosynthesis on Earth. The Seaweed Coalition projects that seaweed could absorb 135m tons of Co2 a year and 30% of all nitrogen entering oceans from land-based pollution by 2050. Companies could also use this process to create other shapes, including containers of every form, and provide healthy, secure employment for millions of people across the globe. According to FAO of the UN, nearly 45% of the female workforce works in agriculture, indicating a possible increase in the employment for women as seaweed farming increases. At the end of their use, water containing microorganisms and snails breaks down the seaweed cups. The cups could take between 12 weeks and 80 years to breakdown, depending on heat and water quality.

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