Science

T-Shirt or Worm Food? Plant-Based T-Shirt Is Both

Want to invest in sustainable fashion and also live zero-waste? This plant-based t-shirt might be the key to both.

Vollebak, the makers of the indestructible puffer jacket and hoodie are reinventing fahion one piece of clothing at a time. The company has created the first t-shirt made completely from plants, more specifically pulped eucalyptus and beech from sustainably managed forests, and algae that has been growing in bioreactors.

As you can imagine, the 105 euros t-shirt can easily serve as worm food, biodegrading in just 12 weeks.

But how can you turn plants into ink? Vollebak was inspired by the Kenyan algae cake and resorted to pass water from the bioreactor through a filter, separating the algae and getting a sort of pasty material.

That paste was afterwards dried outside and crushed into a powder that mixed with water resulted in an ink. That was just half of the process though. The green ink was applied to a white shirt made from the pulp of eucalyptus and beech. Every piece of bark was obtained from sustainable forests that have the PEFC certification.

If that isn’t poetic enough, consider this: as algae is organic, the green of the ink obtained – though the algae has died – will fade away in time, changing color in the process.

How will the t-shirt look in the end? Only you will know, if you get one. And in the end, as Vollebak says, remember: “compost it at the end of its life. here it will biodegrade with them, turn into soil, and help new plants to grow.’

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