Scientists in California have devised a new way for sunseekers to care for the environment when they hit the beach – biodegradable flip-flops made from algae.
Working in partnership with tech start-up company Algenesis Materials, researchers at the University of California San Diego have spent years trying to produce a solid foam-like material out of oil extracted from algae to make the green beach sandals.
They hope the sustainable footwear, which is due to be launched through a major flip-flop brand next year, will cut the amount of plastic ending up in oceans and landfill sites.
“There are over one billion flip-flops made in the world every year and are actually a major plastic pollution in the oceans,” Stephen Mayfield, one of the project’s leaders, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.
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Mayfield, director at the California Center for Algae Biotechnology and Associate Director, Michael Burkart co-led the project with graduate student, Natasha Gunawan and Marissa Tessman, a research scientist at Algenesis Materials.
Plastic pollution in the oceans is expected to triple by 2040, according to a study by the International Solid Waste Association, an NGO.
“People are … starting to demand products that can address what has become an environmental disaster,” said Tom Cooke, president of Algenesis Materials.
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