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What Are the Various Sargassum Uses?

December 21, 2023

With everyday reminders of the climate crisis knocking at our doors, visionary companies are rising to the occasion to come up with sustainable solutions that achieve their business goals without harming the planet. Among these trailblazers, who have found sustainable ways to confront some of the most urgent global challenges, is Carbonwave – the world’s leading developer of ultra-regenerative, plant-based, advanced biomaterials from seaweed.

sargassum in the beach shore

As sargassum seaweed continues to grow and affect the coastal ecosystems it touches, Carbonwave has not only developed a collection and processing system for this seaweed, but it’s also upcycling it into some of the world’s most effective products that support various industries. In this blog post, we will explore the many uses of sargassum, showing how a product that has long been considered a waste product can be upcycled for good. From agriculture to cosmetics, let’s dive in (but first, really quickly, let’s cover the basics so you’re up to speed on all things sargassum).

Solving the Sargassum Conundrum

If you’re not familiar with sargassum (check out our sargassum seaweed 101 blog to learn more), it’s a brown seaweed (algae) that lives in the ocean and collects in large floating rafts that live on the surface of the water, soaking up the rays of the sun and creating homes for various marine life species. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, usually it ends up washing on shore and causing severe issues in coastal ecosystems. From choking out coastal species to emitting harmful greenhouse gasses once it washes up on shore, finding ways to curb the sargassum conundrum is a crucial and vital opportunity.

sargassum seaweed floatingunder water

But luckily, despite its harmful on-shore effects, there is an upside to sargassum…

The Many Sargassum Uses – Upcycling for Good

Carbonwave has found that sargassum contains a number of beneficial components that can be extracted and used to create other products that various industries desperately need – but it must be done in a way that’s sustainable and keeps the good elements of sargassum intact throughout the extraction process.

If done correctly, there are a number of upcycled uses for sargassum that support a number of different industries, including:

1) The Agricultural Industry Sargassum Use: Algae Fertilizer

Carbonwave’s first product on the market was SargaAg, an agricultural extract derived from upcycled sargassum. SargaAg is a concentrated form of the nutrients that allow sargassum to thrive in a nutrient-scarce open ocean for land-based crops. Seaweed-based extracts are becoming increasingly popular in agriculture because they have been shown to improve yields 10-15% (source). Carbonwave is one of the first to figure out how to harness sargassum and we extract the nutrients in a cold chemical-free process rather. Many other seaweed extracts for agriculture advertise their “organic content” but essentially just grind up the low-value cellulose from the stems and leaves of seaweeds, but SargaAg extracts just the most critical nutrients, leaving the cellulose behind. This organic solution not only supports your crops, but can also reduce the amount of fertilizer needed. By incorporating SargaAg into farming practices, Carbonwave is contributing to sustainable agriculture and fostering a healthier planet from the ground up – literally.

vegetable crops

2) The Cosmetic Industry Sargassum Use: Natural Seaweed Emulsifier

Carbonwave’s commitment to sustainability extends to the cosmetic industry with SeaBalance, a revolutionary cosmetic emulsifier derived from sargassum seaweed. Unlike traditional emulsifiers that may contain harmful chemicals, SeaBalance offers a natural and eco-friendly alternative. It not only ensures effective emulsification in cosmetic products but also supports the reduction of plastic waste in the beauty industry. With SeaBalance, Carbonwave is empowering cosmetic companies to create products that include an upcycled element, and are kinder to both skin and the environment. Win win.

white cream lotion

3) The Fashion Industry Sargassum Use: Vegan Leather and Nonwovens

In the effort to fashion a greener future (see what we did there?), innovation in the fashion industry is a must. By upcycling Sargassum, Carbonwave has developed vegan leather and nonwovens, presenting a cruelty-free and eco-conscious alternative to traditional leather and textiles. As fast fashion still continues to wreak havoc on the planet, but providing these less costly, vegan material alternatives, there is an opportunity to write (and right) the future of fashion. These innovative materials showcase Carbonwave’s dedication to reducing the fashion industry’s environmental footprint while delivering quality products that align with ethical values. Of note, while this product has been used to develop various materials, it’s still under development – you can learn more by visiting our website.

Dress designed by FELDER FELDER

A Glimpse into the Future: What Sargassum Uses Are on the Horizon?

While Sarga AG, SeaBalance, and their vegan leather and wovens are already transformative achievements, Carbonwave has more exciting developments in the pipeline. With ongoing research and development, the company aims to expand its product range, bringing forth even more ingenious applications of Sargassum upcycling. To-date, Carbonwave has developed prototypes of foams, rubber-like material, hydrogels (e.g., super absorbers for diapers or agricultural use), alginate capsules (e.g., for medications), and bioethanol.

Partner with Carbonwave to Discover the Potential Sargassum Uses for Your Industry

Carbonwave’s pioneering efforts in upcycling sargassum have unveiled a world of possibilities for addressing environmental challenges while simultaneously creating valuable products for diverse industries. From SargaAg enhancing agriculture to SeaBalance revolutionizing cosmetics and vegan leather transforming fashion, Carbonwave’s innovative solutions underscore the potential of sustainable practices in shaping a greener tomorrow. If you’re curious about how Carbonwave’s products could support your company’s work, or if you’re interested in partnering on future research projects, get in touch with our team to learn more.

It’s all of our responsibility to make a positive impact on our planet. We hope you’ll join us on this journey.

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