UK’s first large-scale seaweed farm scrubs up with bodycare partnership

Natural bath and bodycare company Cosy Cottage Soap has partnered with the UK’s first large-scale seaweed farm SeaGrown to develop a range of kelp infused skincare.

Former IBM executive Clara Challoner Walker founded Cosy Cottage Soap to make natural and eco-friendly soaps, shampoo bars, skincare, candles and household products.

Plastic, palm oil and cruelty-free, over the last 12 months alone, sales of Malton-based Cosy Cottage Soap’s solid soaps and shampoos have saved more than 300,000 plastic bottles from landfill.

The brand is also free from SLS and parabens, which are found in many mass-produced personal care products and considered toxic to aquatic environments.

The partnership with SeaGrown, located just off the Scarborough coast, will use seaweed’s natural healing and soothing properties to create a fresh-scented soap bar and hand & body balm.

It also sustains commercial growth and harvesting of seaweed, which is up to 20 times more effective at absorbing carbon than woodlands and can “turn the tide on climate change”.

The crop also absorbs nitrogen, produces oxygen and creates habitat for marine life.

As well as bath products, seaweed is a highly nutritious food and can also be used in the manufacture of animal feed, fertilisers, textiles and biodegradable substitutes for plastic.

SeaGrown is pioneering new ways of offshore seaweed farming, allowing them to scale up their production capacity and giving the company plenty of opportunities to diversify into different products.

Yorkshire and the Humber area is already home to a number of industries that use bio-based raw materials and processes, and boasts the UK’s greatest concentration of food and drink companies.

BioVale and BioYorkshire, both led by the University of York, see huge potential in developing the bioeconomy to tackle climate change, grow a resilient economy and create quality jobs.
Through a network of business incubators, entrepreneurial support, training and world class research projects; the organisations are ensuring businesses such as Cosy Cottage Soap and SeaGrown have a successful future in a net zero world.

Challoner Walker first connected with Wave Crookes from SeaGrown at a business speed-dating event held by Biovale.

She said: “Our collaboration with SeaGrown enables us to showcase how fantastic seaweed is for the skin but also allows us to generate consumer interest for this fantastic, sustainable ingredient.

“Working together with local companies that share the same passions and values helps us to make an even greater impact. BioVale and BioYorkshire unite and support businesses of all sizes across the region, who are already passionate about doing good for the community and the environment and enable us to collectively achieve more.”

Crookes said: “We know how valuable seaweed is to the marine ecosystem and as a carbon capturing plant, but it also has so many commercial applications. Our bath and skincare range with Cosy Cottage Soap underlines how working with other local businesses who share our sustainability values can be incredibly successful. By making quality products that people want to buy, we are attracting more people to buy from and invest in local businesses that are proactively supporting sustainable practices. This is the foundation of a thriving green economy.”

Steve Bagshaw, chairman of the BioYorkshire Industrial Advisory Group, says: “The partnership between Cosy Cottage Soap and SeaGrown perfectly exemplifies how promoting the bioeconomy can benefit local enterprise, communities through the provision of work, and the environment. We are facing a huge climate crisis but are equally blessed with so many clever and innovative people working on solutions in the region.  We are supporting them to do this and be commercially successful.

“Our goal is to make North Yorkshire carbon negative, of course achieving this aim brings environmental benefits but we believe it is only a truly sustainable goal if we can also create jobs and enterprise.”