Forget the end product… Simply growing kelp is environmentally beneficial.
Reduces carbon footprint. Growing kelp absorbs excess carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus from the ocean more efficiently than plants and trees. At scale, kelp can play a role in reducing the effects of global warming. Read more at Carbonplan.org and Oceans2050.com.
Can be grown sustainably. Unlike land-based crops, kelp requires zero inputs to grow. No fertilizer. No pesticides. No fresh water. No soil. Where kelp can replace agricultural products, it frees up land and fresh water for other uses.
Improves local marine environment. Kelp provides habitat for marine organisms (think snails and fish), protects coastline from storms and waves, and deacidifies the marine environment (read: healthier shellfish).
Supports local marine economy. Kelp farming allows waterfront communities to economically diversify, mitigate climate change effects, and supplement incomes.
Potential for global impact. Don’t just take our word for it. According to the United Nations Global Compact, “Seaweed has the potential to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Our vision is an upscaled, responsible and restorative seaweed industry, playing a globally significant role in food security, climate change mitigation, and support to the marine ecosystem, as well as contributing to job-creation and economic growth.”
Seaweed can play two very different roles in beauty and personal care products. First, it has anti-aging, photoprotective, antioxidant, moisturizing, anti-melanogenic, anti-inflammatory, and free radical scavenging properties. Second, seaweed additives can stabilize or improve the texture of cosmetic properties by thickening, gelling, moistening or texturizing.
Humans use five trillion plastic bags per year. Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental crises. Seaweed-based plastic alternatives provide hope for a more sustainable future. Companies are using seaweed to create clear plastic packaging, drinking straws, and other plastic alternatives.
Polysaccharides from seaweed contain anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitumor, antithrombotic, anticoagulant and antioxidant properties. Much promising research is being done on seaweed’s role in fighting cancer, COVID-19, obesity, diabetes and others. For example, bioactive components of brown algae were found to kill human colon cancer cells. Read more here.
According to the United Nations, “By farming just two per cent of the ocean, we could provide enough protein to feed a world population of 12 billion people. Seaweed is extremely protein rich, low in fat, low in carbohydrates, and rich in vitamins, zinc and iron.” Unlike land-based crops, seaweed does not require land, soil, pesticides, fertilizer or fresh water to grow.
Seaweed has 60 trace minerals and nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and magnesium. It also contains hormones to encourage plant growth. Seaweed used as a soil amendment increases plant growth and yield, allows plants to better able to extract nutrients from the surrounding soil, and contributes to resistance to pests, diseases, and climate stresses. Plant roots fed with kelp grow faster and develop greater mass.
Innovative textile companies are producing seaweed-based fabrics that contain naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These textiles have the added benefits of being biodegradable, conserving land and water (as compared to cotton), and replacing synthetic materials.
Research has shown that certain algae-based feed additives reduce cows’ methane-emitting burps. Feeding livestock small amounts of seaweed has the potential to drastically reduce the global production of this greenhouse gas, which is about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.