Algae-based footwear developed by scientists

  • Scientists have developed algae-based, renewable flip-flops that could be an environment friendly alternative to petroleum-based slippers-the go-to footwear in countries like India and China.
  • Three billion petroleum-based flip-flops are produced worldwide each year, eventually ending up as non-biodegradable trash in landfills, rivers and oceans around the globe.
  • These are the shoes of a fisherman and a farmer. 
  • This is the number one footwear in India, China and in Africa. 
  • One of the largest pollutants in the ocean is polyurethane from flip-flops and other shoes that have been washed or thrown into rivers and flow into the ocean. 
  • The flip flops consist of a flexible, spongy slipper and a simple strap.
  • Petroleum comes from algae that lived in the ancient oceans hundreds of millions of years ago. 
  • A lot of people do not know that. But what that means is that anything we can make from petroleum we can ultimately make from algae.
  • The flip-flops, shoe soles and other polyurethane products scientists make from living algae oil are “sustainable” because the carbon to construct them was pulled from the atmosphere, rather than underground oil reserves.
  • Scientists are seeking to also make them “biodegradable,” by chemically converting the algae oil into polyurethane in manner that will allow the carbon bonds to be degraded by microorganisms.


Leave a Reply