Fashion brands are starting to think of clever solutions for sustainable products, but chances are you have never heard of an accessory made out of algae. Tentree launched its Mobius backpack on April 9, which is a backpack made out of algae. But it's not as weird as it sounds.
The Mobius backpack is made with 99.9% sustainable materials including recycled polyester, BLOOM algae, and post industrial waste. There is absolutely no new material used for the product, making it extremely eco-friendly and sustainable.
The backpack uses two materials in particular: Repreve plastic and BLOOM foam. Repreve plastic takes used water bottles that would end up in the landfill, and spins them into fabric. There are 31 plastic bottles used in every Mobius backpack. BLOOM algae is used in the protective padding of the backpack, adding extra cushion to protect your gadgets and breakables. The backpack also uses recycled post-industrial factory waste to create buckles, zippers, and trims. So there is almost nothing new on the backpack — it's 99.9% recycled. "We take sustainability down to every click, pull, and zip," tentree's website reads.
The parts that aren't recycled are items like the thread, the teeth of the zippers, and the tape that binds the trims to the backpack. Though the brand is working on finding upcycled solutions for that.
While it's amazing that old plastic and waste is being recycled to create chic and durable new products, the algae material is something that makes the backpack really stand out. But don't worry — you're not going to be walking around with green scum on your back.
Rising global temperatures create an uncontrollable amount of algae, which threatens the natural ecosystem where it accumulates. BLOOM harvests this excess algae, and then recirculates clean water back into the environment. This helps keep natural ecologies stay in balance — and the harvested algae creates everything from foam used in shoes to the padding used in the Mobius backpack.
"The foam in backpacks is often one of the last things to be considered. The foam is very rarely seen by the end consumer, so product developers tend to be more focused on the function of the foam than where it is coming from. Because of that, the vast majority of foam tends to be made from petroleum based products," Derrick Emsley, Co-Founder and CEO of tentree, shares with Bustle.
Tentree wanted to go a different way, and algae foam ticked all of its boxes. "While algae typically helps keep water ecology in balance, too much of it can actually hurt the freshwater habitats and the people and animals living around them. The Algae Foam is created by harvesting the Algae from polluted water and recirculating clean water back into the environment."
Not only is the Mobius backpack eco-conscious, but it's also extremely functional. It can be used as a commuter backpack, a carry-on, or a hiking backpack, making it multi-use. The backpack is between 16L to 35L, where you can expand or shrink the bag with its rolltop opening.
The padded front pocket has a series of organized compartments and pockets to store all your small odds and ends. The front pocket also has a 15" laptop sleeve, so if you need to take your backpack out in a rush, it's easily accessible. The side pockets can carry everything from a water bottle to an extra beach towel. The Mobius backpack also has secret zipped compartments. These add extra security for items that you don't want to have stolen, like passports or wallets.
In addition to the backpack being completely sustainable and highly functional, it also actively gives back to the environment. For every Mobius backpack bought, 10 trees are planted. (Hence the brand's name, tentree.) Even cooler, each purchased item comes with a tree token that you can use to see where your trees are planted.
In addition to the backpack, there is a whole Mobius line that includes everything from duffle bags to packing cubes. When it comes to living sustainably, Mobius makes it easy.