In a bold move intended to help in the fight against climate change, one independent retailer is seeking funding to help become the first in the UK to produce a clothing range made from seaweed fibre.
Inland Sea is the brainchild of keen surfer and outdoor enthusiast, Adam Costello. He opened the business in 2017, after being concerned about the amount of plastic pollution in UK cities, that would eventually end up in the sea.
Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothes are burned or buried in landfill each year, according to Greenpeace. After learning of the benefits of seaweed and how recyclable and fully biodegradable fibre can be created from the substance, Costello, this month launched a Kickstarter. Called ‘Does my carbon footprint look big in this’, it has an initial target of £13,444. Pledges can be made from as little as £10 with rewards including early bird and ‘design your own’ t-shirts, and even include an exclusive seaweed farm tour.
Costello explains: “Seaweed is a realistic solution to the climate crisis, and we want to bring this to the government’s attention – as a viable answer for helping to tackle the climate emergency.
“The average person in the UK produces 12kgs of CO2 per day. By establishing seaweed farms here, we can offset huge amounts of carbon – around 4000Kg of CO2 could be absorbed per day, per seaweed farm. That’s the equivalent of saving the emissions omitted from four return flights from London to New York.”
Not yet sourced from UK waters, the fundraising campaign will allow Inland Sea to work with the producers of the patented material, SeaCell™MT. It is manufactured using Bladderwrack, a type of seaweed commonly found in Atlantic oceans, which is seeded on ropes until it’s ready to be harvested. The fibre is made using environmentally friendly technology – the production process generates energy and recovers key parts of the raw materials, by embedding the seaweed firmly within a natural fibre. This ensures the positive properties of the seaweed are permanently preserved, even after multiple washes.
To ensure a fully green manufacturing process, Inland Sea is working with Utenos Trikotažas, the world’s first and only clothing producer to be certified by Greenpeace.
Costello added: “As well as our own line of garments, we plan to work alongside other independent ethical clothing brands to create and sell their own clothing ranges using seaweed fibre. It is one of the greenest materials ever made – and is 100% biodegradable. By collaborating with retailers across the country, we can lead the way with sustainably produced fashion.
Seaweed grows at an incredible rate, especially compared to trees, which means it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere quickly. Per acre, it can absorb up to 20 times more CO2 from the atmosphere than forests.
Costello concludes: “Our dream is to help extract a gigaton of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2030 and to create a circular economic process, where we can use the seaweed from the farms we invest in, to create the fibre for our t-shirts and at the same time contribute to solving the climate crisis.”