CONCEPT

Climate change affects everyone – and the textile industry is not immune. Biomaterials research group AlgiKnit, is doing its bit for the environment by aiming to create a biomaterial alternative that serves as a replacement for everyday, man-made textiles such as polyester. Their goal is to keep fashion products from filling landfills and causing microplastic pollution.

HOW THEY’RE DISRUPTING

Their goal is to create a sustainable BioYarn that can quickly biodegrade after its use-life is over and can be recycled through the earth’s biological systems. Chiefly, they are using alginate, a biopolymer derived from kelp, to do this. The seaweed is “rapidly replenishable and one of the fastest growing organisms in the world”. The company is currently analysing its properties to see if the fibre is strong and flexible enough to be knitted on an industrial power machine.

DISRUPTION POTENTIAL

The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. It is also a $1.2 trillion global industry, with more than $250 billion spent annually on fashion in the United States alone, according to industry analysts.

INVESTMENTS AND FUTURE

AlgiKnit’s investors include RebelBio and SOSV, although the total investment amount is undisclosed. In 2017, AlgiKnit beat 2,800 submissions to win National Geographic’s Chasing Genius award in the Sustainable Planet category, receiving the $25,000 prize along with three other ventures.

The goal of AlgiKnit is to eventually replace petroleum-based materials and become a go-to zero waste fabric suitable for clothing and footwear.