The Problem

For the past years, Mexico has been one of the countries heavily affected by large quantities of sargassum seaweed washed up on its shores. Although Salgax has been working with this type of algae well before it became an environmental concern negatively affecting numerous sectors, the company is now fully committed to tackling the issue through research and innovative product development. The overproduction of sargassum seaweed is putting a financial strain on fishing and hospitality sectors, posing threats to human health and harming marine species. The build up of sargassum can be so great that it creates walls that impede turtles from getting to the beach to lay their eggs. Due to the fact that the excess of Sargassum is a fairly new phenomenon, local communities are unaware of how to dispose of it properly or how to use the algae to their own benefit.


The Solution

The solution to the sargassum crisis will be built on creativity, marine research and hard work. Salgax has found an opportunity in disguise creating a link between business interests and environmental causes. Their innovative approach to seaweed utilisation starts by collecting seaweed that has washed up on the shore before turning it into various types of consumer goods such as paper and cosmetics. Seaweed is also used for biofertilizer production as a substitute for other often aggressive fertilizers that are harmful to the ecosystem. Additionally, Salgax guarantees correct and safe removal of sargassum seaweed from the coastal areas in a way that is not harmful to the environment promoting education and raising issue awareness.


How it Works

In 2015, Salgax started developing their product locally in the Mexican state of Yucatán. Business interest in seaweed at the time was very low and a creative idea for a business was born. The company spent close to three years researching and improving their products to finally establish themselves in the market. Salgax works by removing the algae from the shore, providing adequate treatment to what’s considered a waste product, recycling it and turning it into different products ready for domestic and agricultural use. The products developed by Salgax are entirely natural and organic. Other than the practical aspect of collecting and processing the seaweed, the company continuously works to support and promote scientific development through marine biotechnology research. It not only ensures and improves the quality of their product, but also reaffirms their commitment to technological advancement and education.


Goals

As a nature driven and environmentally friendly business, Salgax aims to protect the marine ecosystem, help foster more sustainable agricultural practices through the use of biotechnological and innovative products as well as promote scientific development in Mexico. The company is committed to ethical social conduct engrained in honesty, respect and equality. In cooperation with local governments Salgax has worked to educate and shift negative social opinions towards sargassum seaweed though the road to subject awareness remains long. With a goal to expand to international markets Salgax hopes to draw global attention to the advantages and the nutritional value of sargassum seaweed.


Challenges

Presently, the greatest challenges that Salgax is facing are funding related. Furthermore, as the world enters the recovery stage from the economic crisis ignited by the Covid-19 pandemic, Yucatán has encountered additional challenges related to the sanitary crisis as well as a harsh hurricane season. As a consequence, Salgax has struggled to gain funds to support the collection and production of algae products as well as their continuous marine biology research.

Though interest in seaweed has increased over the past few years, lack of awareness and recognition of the benefits of sargassum to plant and human nutrition are also considered barriers for scalable business growth. Gaining confidence and trust from local farmers to use seaweed fertilizers is considered essential and currently somewhat problematic. There is a pressing need for information dissemination and mentality change from both local communities and the authorities towards the value and potential of sargassum seaweed.


Impacts to Date

Thanks to Salgax’s commitment to social and environmental causes, the company has been able to add value to local communities through job creation and education. They’ve managed to clean coastal areas, relieving stress on the tourism industry. Through government collaborations and as one of the field pioneers in processing and recycling Sargassum, Salgax has provided a feasible and sustainable solution to the sargassum crisis. Salgax are proud of having served their accessible quality products to more than three hundred satisfied customers.


What's Next

Salgax aims to expand their markets, gain global visibility and recognition, and establish themselves in other parts Latin America, Europe, China and the United States remaining committed to research and outstanding product quality. Healthy environments, coastal ecosystems and biodiversity remain at the core of their corporate mission. Ultimately, Salgax has set out to change consumer mindsets and attitudes towards seaweed products and help to save our planet.


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