Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles leave eco-friendly footprint

Global Business

Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles leave eco-friendly footprint

It’s been called ‘the most eco-friendly shoe’.  One startup is putting the latest 3D print technology and recycled water bottles together, to produce trendy footwear.

A business concept, that’s now winning over the wallets of both environmentally-conscious and fashionista consumers.
CGTN’s Nanuka Danelia reports.

In the 1956 movie, “And God Created Woman,” French actress Brigitte Bardot appeared on screen wearing flat-bottom ballet shoes. It was a big step in fashion.

Audrey Hepburn was another film star, who helped to popularize the shoes previously worn only by dancers.Fast forward to 2017, and every brand from Chanel to Louboutin has put their twist on the classic shape.

But now one San Francisco start-up is taking a leap, or as it called in ballet – grand jeté – into that market by creating ballet flats from water bottles.

“For us it was about adapting recycled waste that comes to us in the form of plastic water bottles. We sterilize those bottles, hot wash them, they get chipped into flake and then they are extruded into a very soft filament fiber.” Said Rothy’s co-founder and CCO, Roth Martin.

Add some carbon-free recycled rubber, recyclable foam and 3D knitting machine to the mix, and you get what the fashion press has called the most eco-friendly shoe.

It takes about 3 bottles to make one shoe, a drop in the ocean of plastic waste. About 50 billion water bottles were used in the U.S. last year alone and according to environmental advocacy group Ban the Bottle, 38 billion of them were never recycled.

The shoemakers at Rothy’s see that as an endless source of low-cost material.

A pair of shoes costs as much as $145. But when they wear out the company allows customers to ship their used flats back for free and they get recycled all over again – completing a pirouette of sustainability.