What do the world’s oceans need? Solutions. A program called the Ocean Solutions Accelerator has chosen to help a handful of new startups which aim to benefit ocean health. They include the first company to make compostable materials derived from seaweed as a plastic alternative. Aka, edible cups and straws a la Willy Wonka.
The five were announced by the youth-led nonprofit Sustainable Ocean Alliance and have become the inaugural class for the Accelerator. That means company leaders will spend this summer in San Francisco, California, and receive guidance from a global community that includes ocean experts, marine scientists, entrepreneurs and investors. When it’s over, each startup will showcase its ideas on stage for a Demo Day at a Sept. 11 Ocean Solutions Gala at the California Academy of Sciences.
That first company is LOLIWARE, based in New York, and dubbed as the world’s first bioplastics company dedicated to replacing single-use plastics with hyper-compostable, edible materials derived from seaweed. Their cups and straws taste like fruit roll-ups.
The Alliance notes that oceans produce 50% of the world’s oxygen, are the primary source of food for 3.5 billion people, control global weather patterns and are the planet’s largest ecosystem with tremendous biodiversity. And humans haven’t done a great job of caring for them. Problems include marine pollution, ocean acidification, unsustainable fishing and habitat destruction.
A second startup called BlockCycle of Sydney, Australia, also is targeting plastics with waste-to-value marketplace using blockchain technology (famously associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin).