Seaweed emerges as a viable plastic alternative

Amidst the recent push to develop viable alternatives to plastic packaging that are not only environmentally friendly but also edible, the use of seaweed in particular stands out. Not only is the mineral-rich vegetable biodegradable, edible, nutritious, and energy-efficient to produce and consume, but it also reduces ocean acidity, further mitigating the effects of global warming.


As brand after brand announces their commitment to eliminating plastic straws, other brands are innovating alternatives for plastic straws so that consumers can sip guilt-free to their heart’s content. One such company, LOLIWARE, is producing straws made from biodegradable seaweed, rendering the product not only hyper-compostable, but with an additional ROI: the straws break down into fuel for plants, humans, and even machines. These triple-threat straws come in a variety of attention-grabbing flavors, such as carbon—with detoxing charcoal, sparkling ocean, and rose quartz, among more standard flavors like citrus and vanilla dust. LOLIWARE is currently crowd-funding the project on Indiegogo.


Taking the concept of company transparency to new levels, Skipping Rocks Lab, a UK-based sustainable packaging startup, designed Ooho: transparent, edible orbs of water that replace wasteful single-use plastic water bottles. The see-through skin of the Ooho pouch is made from a brown algae that has been manufactured into a thin, clear membrane encasing the serving of water inside, rendering the pouches not just thoughtfully designed, but also biodegradable. Ooho, which is intended to revolutionize the water-on-the-go market, is the startup’s first product, but Skipping Rocks Lab hopes to extend the use of its packaging to other types of liquids.


Visitors who attended this year’s Bali Vegan Festival were able to devour piping hot Belgian waffles—along with the wrapper the sweet treat came in. The waffle vendor was testing an edible seaweed-based packaging developed by Indonesian startup Evowear, whose mission is to “be the eco-solution for plastic waste problems.” Evowear’s innovative packaging is not only environmentally-friendly, but also aims to support seaweed farmers in Indonesia, who are often relegated to crippling poverty due to long marketing chains and loan sharks even as they overproduce their crop.