Bioplastics firm Algix and clean tech company Effekt began a collaboration in 2015, aiming to produce an eco-friendly foam based on algae instead of petroleum. The material is now being marketed as Bloom Foam, named after the company that produces it – Bloom. This company uses algae harvested out of waste streams in the US and Asia, where an over-abundance of nutrients in the water often causes an excess growth of algae that is harmful to the aquatic wildlife. But Bloom is turning this negative into a positive by transforming the excess algae into a unique material for footwear. While cleaning the environment and supporting the ecosystem, they are also reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The harvested algae biomass is dewatered and dried, polymerized into pellets, then combined with other compounds to ultimately form a soft, pliable foam. While the algae biomass itself is a natural material, it is combined with an Ethylene Vinyl Acetate compound. Depending on the formulation and intended application, the algae makes up anywhere from 15 to 60 per cent of the finished product. Therefore, the final foam is not yet biodegradable. However Bloom Foam scrap can be industrially recycled during production. And if discarded it, it still is capturing C02 from the air.
London- based footwear brand Vivobarefoot is currently producing the Ultra III trainer that uses Bloom Foam offering the first sustainable alternative to the synthetic and petrochemical EVA commonly used in today's market.
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