Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion

September 1, 2020 by  
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Sustainable fashion is on the rise, with materials from plastic water bottles to vegan apple leather becoming more and more common in the industry every day. Recent design graduate Jasmine Linington is taking sustainable fashion a step further with a new couture collection that uses seaweed-derived textiles. The eco-friendly and thoughtful clothing displays the versatility of this ocean resource through seaweed fibers, dyes and embellishments. “Having fallen in love with seaweed for its utter beauty and endless visual inspiration, whether that be for its colour, texture or composition, it was this initial capture that began the journey into my ‘ Seaweed Girl ’ project,” Linington said. “I have since spent the last few years exploring ways in which I can incorporate this alternative, highly sustainable material into my practice in a way that showcases its beauty, but also its environmental benefits.” Related: Surprising ways seaweed benefits the environment After learning that seaweed and microalgae make up about 90% of plant life on the planet, Linington became motivated to find innovative ways to use seaweed in fashion. Seaweed and microalgae are highly sustainable, especially because they are some of the fastest growing organisms on Earth. The inventive artist hand-harvests seaweed from the southeastern coast of Scotland to create the pieces. Linington develops the plants into beads and sequins for embellishments with a resin made from the byproducts of the harvesting process. For the fabrics , seaweed and eucalyptus cellulose combine to create SeaCell fibers. Seaweed is also used in the dying process to color the fabrics. These processes mean that everything in the collection is carbon-neutral and biodegradable. Linington’s project is ongoing. Next, the artist will be working on a line of textile wall hangings and artwork inspired by the seaweed collection as well as a small range of luxury interior accessories. + Jasmine Linington Via Dezeen Images via Jasmine Linington

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Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion

Surprising ways seaweed benefits the environment

August 19, 2020 by  
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While the news often mentions the terrible things in the sea, such as gyres of plastic and other trash, the oceans also hold an extremely valuable resource: seaweed. This renewable and easily harvestable organism is used for everything from food to spa treatments to a possible  COVID-19 medicine. This eco-friendly ingredient also features in many common products, including paint, toothpaste, ice cream and beer. Farming seaweed People collect seaweed both wild and cultivated from seaweed  farms . Wild picking involves either wading into the seawater to gather the slippery crop or picking it up off the shoreline. Especially abundant harvests usually come post-storm when seaweed washes onshore. For centuries, people gathered seaweed using this traditional method. Nowadays, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 96% of global seaweed production comes from farms instead of wild gathering. Depending on the type of seaweed grown, farming may involve attaching the seaweed to rope lines suspended in the sea just off the coast, or growing the seaweed in nets. Seaweed farming in Japan started in the 1600s, and the practice may date back to the 15th century in Korea. Other parts of Asia, including  China , Indonesia and the Philippines, also produce seaweed for food and other products. In the Philippines alone, about 40,000 people made their living from seaweed production in the late 90s. When it’s time to harvest seaweed, people in most seaweed-growing countries use boats and machinery like rakes or trawlers. While easier than hand collection, harvesting with these tools can adversely affect habitats and wreck sea animals’ homes. To combat this, farmers in Norway devised a rake method that only removes the floating top canopy of seaweed, this avoiding seabed disruption. Seaweed helping the environment Farming seaweed might even improve the sea’s health, according to findings from Chinese researchers in a 2019 issue of  Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment . Research found that seaweed aquaculture can help combat eutrophication, the process whereby water becomes so overly enriched with nutrients that it causes excessive algae growth and oxygen depletion. The study discovered that seaweed aquaculture removed more than 75,000 metric tons of nitrogen and more than 9,500 metric tons of phosphate from coastal waters. Seaweed aquaculture also sequestered and absorbed a large amount of CO2 and released more than a million metric tons of oxygen. As a natural filter, seaweed helps remove pollutants from the environment; this does mean people should eat seaweed in moderation, though, as it can contain high levels of metals and iodine. In addition to keeping oceans healthy, seaweed also helps terrestrial farmers. When used as fertilizer, seaweed helps farmers avoid using nearly 30,000 tons of chemical fertilizers. Summarizing these benefits, the seaweed study’s authors wrote, “These results demonstrate that Chinese seaweed aquaculture has turned the  pollutants  that cause eutrophication into nutrients, which generates considerable environmental benefits as well as socio-economic values.” Seaweed in cosmetics and medicine Diverse parts of the world use seaweed in  cosmetics , too. Many Tanzanian women farm seaweed for export to China, Korea, Vietnam and other countries that use it as an ingredient in cosmetics and skincare products.  Even Ireland has harvested seaweed for hundreds of years. A 12th-century poem recounts how monks distributed edible seaweed to hungry poor people. In the early 20th century, the Irish coast housed nearly 300 seaweed bathhouses. You can still find some places in County Sligo to take a traditional seaweed bath. “This is our traditional spa treatment,” said Neil Walton, owner of Voya Seaweed Baths in the town of Strandhill. Scientists continue searching for more health benefits from  seaweed . The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York has even explored using seaweed extract to treat COVID-19. This extract contains variations of heparin, a common anticoagulant. Though heparin usually comes from animal tissue, this seaweed alternative may become popular. If so, this could lower costs for seaweed as a biofuel resource. Seaweed as biofuel Seaweed aquaculture may also increase the use of biomass as  renewable energy . In 2015, biomass-derived energy accounted for about 5% of U.S. energy use . Biomass energy encompasses plant and animal-derived energy, such as food crop waste, animal farming, human sewage, wood or forest residue and horticultural byproducts. So far, seaweed as biofuel has garnered little commercial interest, and the market remains mostly unexplored. But the industry holds great potential. According to Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a United States government agency that funds and promotes research and development of energy technologies, U.S. seaweed cultivation could reach 500 million tons and provide more energy than 23 billion gallons of gasoline. Seaweed farming paired with other industries Seaweed farming can also work with other industries, such as fish farming. Some environmental experts worry that open-sea fisheries negatively impact ecosystems due to the excess fish feed and fish feces floating in the water. Integrating seaweed production into fish farms could help reduce nitrogen  emissions  and break down other pollutants. A seaweed farm could also pair well with an offshore  wind farm . The first such operation is being built by Belgian-Dutch consortium Wier & Wind this year. The company plans to grow patches of seaweed for biofuel between large turbines 23 km off Zeebrugge in Belgium. This combination may lead to a genius symbiotic relationship. Seaweed production would make use of large open spaces between turbines, and the turbines would prevent ships from running over floating seaweed. Images via Pixabay,  Rich Brooks ,  Ronald Tagra  and  Gregg Gorman

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Carbon-negative snack company AKUA offers kelp jerky and pasta

January 22, 2020 by  
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Amidst the growing awareness about our planet’s climate crisis , there is now a burgeoning need for more sustainable food resources. In recent years, seaweed has been quite a catch for health-conscious consumers, in turn, making kelp, a brown macroalgae, one of the more in-demand types of seaweed offerings. As such, startup business AKUA is set to enhance the sustainability of the snack industry with its product line of kelp-based jerky and pasta. “I started the company when I was an adviser to GreenWave , a nonprofit that trains ocean farmers. When I asked the farmers what they truly needed, they answered, ‘We need your help creating a consumer market for kelp.’ So, I started sending out 5-pound bags of frozen kelp to all my chef friends across the U.S.,” said Courtney Boyd Myers, co-founder and CEO of AKUA. “We came up with dozens of cool products and hosted tastings in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. One chef came up with kelp jerky, burgers and sausages — all vegan and made from kelp and mushrooms. That made me think, ‘Wow, what if we could create a line of meat alternative products from one of the most sustainable sources of food on the planet?’ Together with my co-founder Matt Lebo, we set out to launch AKUA and to bring regeneratively grown, kelp-based products into the world.” Related: Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production Why is kelp a good idea for food sustainability? For one, Harvard University has documented that kelp plays a significant role in reducing global warming . That is attributed to kelp’s rapid growth rate, typically about 2 feet per day. Kelp is also able to naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mitigating rising temperatures and climate change. Kelp is also appealing because of its nutritional value. According to the University of California – Berkeley’s Wellness page , kelp, as a seaweed, “is a rich source of several vitamins, including vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and B vitamins.” Because kelp has been called a sea vegetable, alongside other seaweed, it likewise “contains vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting.” Kelp’s health benefits extend beyond vitamins, as documented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central site . Kelp is abundant in several minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. A University of California – San Francisco Medical Center study even documented that kelp has more calcium content than leading vegetables such as bok choy, collard greens, corn, curly endive and even kale. Kelp is particularly important for its high iodine content, a characteristic it has in common with other brown seaweeds. Iodine is vital for the human body to optimize thyroid hormone production, metabolic functions, immune response and the health of both the central nervous system and skeleton. Pregnant women especially need iodine for the proper bone and brain development of the fetus. Besides that, iodine helps remove free radicals from human blood cells, in essence counteracting the free radicals responsible for accelerating a cell’s aging process. Because of the health value of kelp, AKUA sought to leverage this as it developed its first product. “After studying trends in high protein snacking meets plant-based eating, we decided on creating a high-protein, soy-free vegan jerky made of kelp! In fact, today, Kelp Jerky is the world’s first meat alternative snack made from ocean-farmed seagreens and the only high-protein, soy-free vegan jerky in the market,” explained Myers. With the dawn of this new decade, AKUA has been seeking new and innovative ways of presenting kelp into meals. This is why it also offers kelp pasta as another nutritious product. “We have always wanted to introduce this product because eating kelp in this way is how we fell in love with kelp to begin with, literally just dehydrated kelp cut into noodle form,” continued Myers. “But because it is such a simple product with almost zero barrier to entry, we wanted to wait until after we had introduced Kelp Jerky, which is an incredibly innovative product — Time magazine named it one of 2019’s Best Inventions.” When asked about other food innovations and future plans for AKUA products, Myers eagerly shared, “In March, at Expo West 2020, we will debut our Kelp Balls, a slightly sweet snack focused on gut health that we created in partnership with next-gen microbiome company Biohm Health. If Kelp Jerky is all about protein and energy, our Kelp Balls will be all about improving your digestion.” Besides being a food innovator, AKUA is also committed to leaving a positive impact. One of the ways it does this is by donating part of its annual profits to GreenWave , a nonprofit devoted to training the next generation of ocean farmers. AKUA additionally partners with Parley for the Oceans , an environmental organization that raises awareness about the fragility of our oceans and seeks to prevent ocean pollution . Yet another key value for AKUA is its dedication to collaborating with local ocean farming communities. “Today, 98% of all seaweed is sourced from Asia, while AKUA sources 100% of its kelp from U.S.-based ocean farmers,” Myers said. “In fact, we are one of the first companies to utilize the emerging U.S.-based supply chain of ocean-farmed kelp, supporting the creation of hundreds of new jobs in our coastal communities.” Minimizing its carbon footprint is another crucial mission for AKUA. Last year alone, the company’s Kelp Jerky product utilized “40,000 pounds of regeneratively ocean-farmed kelp … and pull[ed] 2,000 pounds — 1 ton — of carbon from the sea,” according to Myers. “As a comparison, this is the same amount of carbon created by just 300 cheeseburgers. Based on our conservative projections for our Kelp Jerky product alone, by year five, we will be removing 1 million pounds of harmful carbon from our seas each year. With this data in our pocket, we are positioning Kelp Jerky as a ‘ carbon negative snack’ and building a brand that raises awareness for the climate crisis, food sustainability and ocean health.” + AKUA Images via AKUA

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Carbon-negative snack company AKUA offers kelp jerky and pasta

Historic Danish cottage with lush seaweed roof hits the market for $414,000

July 3, 2018 by  
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Back in the Middle Ages, the Danish island of Læsø found itself with sparse building materials, leading the industrious population to start building with whatever natural materials they could find. Among these materials? Eelgrass, which they used to create extremely durable roofs that have lasted centuries. Today, the island is home to 19 original seaweed homes and one of them has just been put up for sale – a six-room cottage recently renovated with a whopping 35 tons of locally harvested eelgrass. By the late 18th century, the island had 250 remaining homes with eelgrass roofs, which are credited for the long-lasting nature of the buildings. The roofs were typically layered on in thick piles, often reaching three feet of thickness. The technique created an impressively durable insulative envelope for the homes that has helped the buildings withstand the test of time. Related: Seaweed-Clad House in Denmark Combines Natural Materials With 21st Century Building Techniques For those doubting the logic of building with sea greenery, the natural resource is incredibly sustainable, as well as non-toxic and fireproof. It can be harvested by hand and cured by the sun and wind. And, as the Danish cottages have proven, its insulative properties are as durable as any contemporary insulation . The cottage, which is currently listed for $414,000 , is a six-room home with an area of 1,076 square feet. Dating back to the 18th century, the home has been painstakingly restored to enhance its historic character. The original seaweed roof was replaced with 35 tons of seaweed locally harvested at the island’s “seaweed bank,” an initiative begun by the island for the sole purpose of restoring the remaining historic homes. The extended farmhouse has six rooms tucked into the cottage’s traditional framework. The kitchen and living spaces receive an abundance of natural light . Rustic touches such as colorful farmhouse doors and exposed ceiling beams add an old-world charm to the interior. The cottage is located on large lot of land filled with ancient apple trees, and is just minutes away from a beautiful beach. + Adam Schnack Via Treehugger Photography by Per Nielsen via Adam Schnack  

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Historic Danish cottage with lush seaweed roof hits the market for $414,000

The Terroir Project transforms seaweed into sustainable chairs and lamps

January 13, 2015 by  
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In their new Terroir Project collection, designers Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt have created a line of sustainable furniture inspired by the ocean that’s made from  seaweed and paper. The pair, who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts , have developed a process that transforms soft seaweed into a durable building material, and used it to create furniture that has a gritty, organic finish akin to sustainable cork. Read the rest of The Terroir Project transforms seaweed into sustainable chairs and lamps Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green furniture” , “sustainable furniture” , algae furniture , Art , eco design , green design , green home decor , Jonas Edvard , Nikolaj Steenfatt , royal danish academy of fine arts , Seaweed , seaweed furniture , Sustainable , sustainable design , Terroir Project

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DIY: Spice Up Your Child’s Lunch Box With These Cute Onigiri Panda Bears

June 22, 2014 by  
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Have you ever wanted to be a bento box master but don’t know where to start? Most food art we see on Pinterest can take hours to create, so we’ve tracked down a recipe that’s not only easy to make but adorable and healthy as well! These onigiri panda are fun to make with your kids and easy way to spice up an ordinary lunch box. Click through to see the step-by-step directions for how to make these cute panda bears! READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bento box , DIY , how-to , Onigiri , panda bear , pickled ginger , rice ball , Seaweed

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DIY: Spice Up Your Child’s Lunch Box With These Cute Onigiri Panda Bears

DIY: Spice Up Your Child’s Lunch Box With These Cute Onigiri Panda Bears

June 22, 2014 by  
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Have you ever wanted to be a bento box master but don’t know where to start? Most food art we see on Pinterest can take hours to create, so we’ve tracked down a recipe that’s not only easy to make but adorable and healthy as well! These onigiri panda are fun to make with your kids and easy way to spice up an ordinary lunch box. Click through to see the step-by-step directions for how to make these cute panda bears! READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bento box , DIY , how-to , Onigiri , panda bear , pickled ginger , rice ball , Seaweed

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DIY: Spice Up Your Child’s Lunch Box With These Cute Onigiri Panda Bears

Nir Meiri’s Marine Light is Made from Dried Seaweed

May 10, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Nir Meiri’s Marine Light is Made from Dried Seaweed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “lighting design” , green decor , green interiors , green lamp , green lighting design , interior design , Marine Light , Milan Design Week , Milan Design Week 2013 , Nir Meiri , Seaweed , seaweed lamp , seaweed lampshade , Tel Aviv        

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Nir Meiri’s Marine Light is Made from Dried Seaweed

Sensational Seaweed: Julia Lohmann Creates Beautiful Lamps Out of Laser-Cut Kelp

October 25, 2012 by  
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It seems that kelp can do just about anything. From stabilizing and thickening foods to fertilizing plants, this giant algae has a million different applications. But who could have thought it would make an attractive addition to your home? Artist Julia Lohmann has used the sensational seaweed to create beautiful laser-cut lampshades. The kelp’s dried green skin produces a soft glow while the pierced geometric patterns reminiscent of Japanese textiles give the lampshade a lacy, delicate look. More fragile in appearance than her previous series of lamps,  Kelp Constructs , we can certainly imagine this seaweed gracing our homes. Read the rest of Sensational Seaweed: Julia Lohmann Creates Beautiful Lamps Out of Laser-Cut Kelp Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ‘Julia Lohmann , department of seaweed , herbert and christine weinberger , Kelp , kelp constructs , lampshade , London , moya hoke , ruminant bloom , Seaweed , v&a museum

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Sensational Seaweed: Julia Lohmann Creates Beautiful Lamps Out of Laser-Cut Kelp

Slimy Seaweed Bacteria Works Better than Toothpaste to Keep Your Teeth Pearly White

July 5, 2012 by  
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Seaweed photo from Shutterstock Most people enjoy minty fresh toothpaste – but would you ever consider starting your day with a mouthful of seaweed ? In a new study scientists at Newcastle University have found that certain types of marine bacteria found in seaweed can polish up your pearly whites and remove plaque in places that regular toothpaste simply cannot reach. Read the rest of Slimy Seaweed Bacteria Works Better than Toothpaste to Keep Your Teeth Pearly White Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bacillus licheniformis , eco design , green design , newcastle university , Seaweed , sustainable design , tooth decay

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