US-based seaweed packaging company Sway has secured $2.5m in an initial funding round led by early-stage investor Valor Siren Ventures.

Sway aims to develop carbon-free and accessible bioplastic from seaweed as a replacement for single-use plastic packaging.

The company will use the proceeds from the funding to develop compostable polybags and retail bags.

It plans to trial these bags with partner brands next year.

Sway co-founder and CEO Julia Marsh said: “At Sway, we are building the next stage in the evolution of plastic.

“We often talk about the ‘plastic problem,’ but it is only a symptom of a much deeper dependency on petroleum.

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“We are building a material as functional and accessible as traditional plastic but derived from a benevolent resource instead.

“With the regenerative power of seaweed, we plan to replace petroplastic — for good.”

Sway said that the financing round represented a ‘significant investment’ in the growing seaweed industry.

Other participants in the funding round included Conservation International Ventures; Alante Capital, BAM Ventures, the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Centre Street Partners and C3 Capital.

Valor Siren Ventures fund manager Jon Shulkin said: “While current offerings require brands to make painful compromises — in cost, performance, or true sustainability — Sway is designing products to make the plastic-free transition seamless and affordable for their customers.

“We look forward to supporting Sway’s mission of bringing sustainable and scalable plastic replacements to market.”

Conservation International Ventures blue economy investments director Janice-Renee Yoshioka said: “Conservation International Ventures is proud to support Sway’s commitment to developing innovative packaging alternatives that promote restorative seaweed farming practices and livelihoods across Latin America and globally.”

Sway was founded last year with the aim of developing an alternative for thin-film plastic packaging, which can be difficult to replace.

The company’s products are derived from seaweed and are claimed to be fully bio-based, non-toxic, high-performance and rapidly compostable in home and industrial compost environments.