Companies that aim to participate in the eternal time trial against climate change are one of the big trends in today’s economy. New ideas that seek to reduce emissions or change human customs that are no longer compatible if you want to fight for the future of the planet are on the rise and Sway, the Silicon Valley startup that seeks to withdraw the use of non-degradable plastic, is a clear example.
Sway has just received 2.5 million dollars, about 2.2 million euros, to carry out its project to replace current plastics with ones made with seaweed. Specifically, this American company is dedicated to transforming these algae into a material similar to traditional plastic so that single-use bags and packaging can be made with them.
Until now, plastic has been made with chemical processes that include fossil fuels, materials that are finite and non-renewable. However, Sway wants to implement the idea that its plastic made from seaweed can also be useful for many of the uses of plastic today.
Every year, millions of tons of plastics end up in the sea, polluting the oceans and causing serious damage to marine fauna and vegetation. What’s more, most of these plastics are single-use, that is, products made of plastic and that we throw them away after the first and only use.
In Spain, for example, this year cutlery and single-use plastics have been banned and the idea is that from 2023 no single-use plastic container will be distributed for free. At the moment, the solution is going through other alternatives such as paper or wood cutlery. But it is true that it is not the same. For this reason, Sway wants to manufacture a material that replicates many of the properties of plastic, but without having the current consequences on the planet.
This company has proven to be capable of creating a plastic, be it transparent or colored, to make thin containers such as polyethylene bags or wrappers. Now, thanks to the financing, the company wants to expand its pilot tests and obtain a biodegradable material with a limited life time.
According to reports from Sway, this plastic has a useful life of 12 months. After this time, the material disappears between four and six weeks later. It seems little, but being focused on single-use products, this time is enough to fulfill its function.
Also, the Silicon Valley company defends that its product is ecological. Since marine algae are capable of retaining up to 20 times more carbon than trees, without the need for fresh water or having to be planted. In this regard, Sway clarifies that the algae to make its plastic comes from ocean farms from which to buy the material. That is, they do not take wild algae or seaweed that grows naturally in the sea.
After obtaining the financing, the company hopes to find, from 2022, up to 300,000 retailers to offer these bags made with seaweed. Before that, the Compos Manufacturing Alliance will ensure that these new bags made from algae meet the necessary requirements for commercial use.