These Vollebak T-shirts decompose in only 12 weeks and are made of wood pulp and algae.
Clothing company Vollebak says it grows the algae in bioreactors, and then uses a process to turn it into ink, which is used to print the green design on the front of the shirt. The shirt’s fabric is made from wood pulp and spun into yarn. All the pulp is sourced from eucalyptus, beech, and spruce trees in sustainably.
Vollebak co-founder Steve Tidball says every shirt is unique because the algae can fade or change color over time.
“You can think of algae as a apace-age material that just happens to be 1.5 billion years old,” he said.
According to the EPA, 10.5 million tons of textiles like clothing carpets, tires, footwear, sheets, and towels ended up in landfills in 2015. The algae shirt makes eco-friendly disposal easy. The company says it can be put in a compost bin or buried in the ground when a customer no longer wants it.
“The plant and algae T-shirt needs the fungus, bacteria and heat from the Earth to start to break down,” he explained. “So if you want it to disintegrate you have to bury it.”
The shirts aren’t for sale yet, but customers can join a waiting list. Each shirt will cost approximately $100.