It's a nice idea: "Everything we create and release into the world should be Designed to Disappear™," writes materials technology company Loliware. "Waste truly is a design flaw. We believe regenerative design is the future and what we create as humans should contribute to a healthier, more resilient, and equitable planet."
The reason the company has trademarked Designed to Disappear™ is because that's what their SEA Tech line of resins do. Derived from seaweed mixed with minerals and "natural colors" (I'm not sure what that means, no explanation is provided), these resins "look and feel like traditional plastic resins, are compatible with existing plastic manufacturing equipment" and "decompose at the same rate as a banana peel." (As in, throw it in the yard. No industrial composting facility required.)
The company says that seaweed offers environmental advantages over other bio-based plastics, like those derived from corn or canola, because seaweed doesn't require fresh water nor fertilizer. And like bamboo, the stuff is fast-growing. "We also use farmed seaweed," the company points out, "which means the seaweed blend that goes into our products does not come at a cost to sensitive coastal habitats." A good thing, as we now know that kelp (the brown algae type of seaweed that grows in the ocean) captures and sequesters carbon faster than land-based forests do.
The company has been around since 2015, and as a reminder of how long it takes to bring a new, revolutionary material to market, to date Sea Tech is being used in just one product: Drinking straws. The company reckons that being both common and single-use, it's an ideal fit for their fast-decomposing resin. And being plastic-like, it presumably won't draw the complaints that the picky have about paper-based straws.
If you're curious about designing with SEA Tech and need more information, you can learn more, investigate licensing costs or reach out to them here.
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