Lerøy has chosen to invite this team to a closer study and look into the possibilities of using self-produced seaweed as a component in packaging.

Bergen company to explore seaweed packaging

The Bergen-based seafood giant Lerøy will be exploring how to use sustainable packaging made from locally-grown seaweed.

The idea came from the Bergen 2030 ideathon, where teams of ambitious individuals competed to solve local companies’ «climate headaches».Lerøy’s headache related to how the company move away from relying on single-use plastic for its packaging.

«Lerøy’s team looked at possibilities for seaweed plastic to replace conventional plastic in packaging,» explained Gunn Kristine Sekse, Category Manager for Fresh Seafood at Lerøy.

«We at Lerøy are impressed with what the group achieved in such a short period and the way they gathered information and collaborated,» she added. «Lerøy has therefore chosen to invite the team to a closer study as an extension of the programme, and in this first step to gain more insights for the possibilities of using self-produced seaweed as a component in packaging.»

Other major organisations in Bergen also shared their climate headaches as part of the ideathon, which took place during autumn 2020.

  • Energy company BKK asked for help in making zero-emissions construction sites a reality
  • Housing Association BOB was interested in handling food waste in a better way
  • Bergen Municipality wanted to assist boat owners in making more climate-friendly choices.
     

Growing seaweed on an industrial scale

Through the company Ocean Forest, Lerøy and Bellona International are already collaborating to produce their own seaweed in the fjords of western Norway. The idea behind Ocean Forest involves using excess resources from Lerøy’s salmon farms to cultivate mussels and type of seaweed called sugar kelp.

These species can use waste products from fish cages, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, as vital nutrients. The sugar kelp also contributes to absorbing carbon dioxide from the air.

The partners are eventually aiming to scale this process up to industrial levels, producing more than 1,000 tonnes of this versatile crop per year.

Seaweed can be used in a range of products, including animal feed and human food additives. If Lerøy’s latest initiative is successful, it might also allow us to create more sustainable packaging in future.

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