This biodegradable T-shirt is made from trees and algae

[Global] When it comes to your typical t-shirt, most people think of cotton, or perhaps a synthetic blend. But they probably don’t think about the all-natural Vollebak tee, made from wood and algae. The Vollebak Plant and Algae T-Shirt is an example of clothing that is produced with a vision for the end of the product life cycle when the shirt can be thrown in a landfill where it will biodegrade within a few months.

Beginning at the source, the Algae T uses eucalyptus, spruce, and beech wood from sustainably-harvested forested that are certified by both the Forestry Sustainability Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The wood is converted into pulp and then thread, and then fabric.

Separately, the algae is grown in bioreactors. To process the algae, water and algae are pressed through a filter, separating out a pasty component of the algae. The paste is then placed in the sun until it dries into a powder. Mixed with a water binder, the dried algae powder becomes ink used on the front of the tee. The natural components of the algae ink mean it varies in depth of color from one shirt to the next and changes color with washings.

Because the ingredients are all natural, the Algae t-shirt can be composted after consumer use. The materials will break down organically, much faster than cotton and other materials, without adding chemicals to the soil and water.

“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. 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,” explains Vollebak co-founder, Steve Tidball.

We say that’s a much better way to think about fast fashion.


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