You can put Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt in the compost bin

The U.S. generates more than 15 million tons of textile waste each year, and all most all of it ends up in the landfill. Less than 0.1% of it gets recycled when almost 100% of textile waste is recyclable according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Vollebak developed a T-shirt that gives another go for a commercial biodegradable t-shirt.

Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt
Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt

The t-shirt is plastic-free. Vollebak made it with fibers extracted from plants, including eucalyptus, beech, and spruce. That means the t-shirt could decompose much faster than a traditional cotton t-shirt could.

Vollebak uses algae, a type of seagrass, to print the graphic on the t-shirt. The design team first needs to run algae water through a filter to create a paste and then dries the paste to produce a fine powder. That would eventually be mixed with a water-based binder to create the print.

Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt
Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt

The color would fade faster than a chemical dye. The pigment would interact with oxygen and oxidize over time.

Vollebak said once you are done with the t-shirt, you can bury it in your yard instead of sending it to a landfill. The t-shirt can decompose in three months.

Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt

However, it is hard to say if this t-shirt would be a commercial success as it comes with a $110 price tag.  Vollebak is not alone in the biodegradable t-shirt market. A 100% biodegradable t-shirt by Spreadshirt comes in at $24 with a less inspiring design.  

Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt
Vollebak’s biodegradable T-shirt

Nevertheless, Vollebak’s shirt would decompose much faster than its current competitions who mostly stay with using cotton and no dye. That being said, the t-shirt is still much cheaper than a $600 Gucci t-shirt. The question is if the consumers are willing to pay for it.