Do you suppose twice earlier than discarding your outdated pair of sneakers? The World Well being Organisation estimates that 35 crore pairs of sneakers are discarded yearly globally. These non-biodegradable sneakers find yourself in landfills and oceans thereby threatening the environment.
Parth and Karishma Dalal, two siblings from Gujarat, have provide you with an excellent thought to mix expertise, sustainability, and social accountability to redefine the footwear business that has lengthy been related to extreme carbon emissions.
In Might this yr, they launched ‘Reroute’ – a startup that utilises carbon-negative supplies reminiscent of sugarcane residue and plastic water bottles to fabricate sneakers.
“We aimed to develop one hundred pc carbon-neutral merchandise. Our idea was to first cut back waste reminiscent of sugarcane residue and plastic bottles from the face of the Earth after which give a second lease of life to this waste,” the 31-year-old tells The Higher India.
Inside a number of months, these sneakers have gained recognition amongst clients throughout metropolitan cities like Bengaluru and Delhi. Within the final month alone, they offered 400 pairs of those sneakers.
Taking classes over legacy ahead
Born and raised in Surat, Parth went to New York in 2016 to pursue his masters in pharmacy. Thereafter, he was working with pharmaceutical firms however in 2019, proper earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he returned to India.
A random dialog with Karishma and his father then motivated him to start out a enterprise targeted on sustainability. Parth remembers an incident that their father, who frequented Gujarat’s society circles, narrated to them about what number of prosperous households discard sneakers after barely utilizing them. “This simply provides to the pointless pile of present sneakers within the landfills,” he provides.
This bought the siblings pondering, if given a alternative, would folks shelling out cash for high-end sneakers make a sustainable and environmentally-conscious buy too, if given a alternative?
That’s when Parth and Karishma determined to fabricate sneakers which might be sustainable, eco-friendly, and in addition with a excessive end. These sneakers will also be recycled not like the standard leather-based or rubber sneakers.
Nevertheless, their father sadly handed away within the preliminary part of the pandemic. Undeterred, the siblings determined to take the thought planted by their father ahead.
In 2021, they began researching the gaps within the footwear business which has been rising enormously over time. “At the moment, leather-based or artificial rubber is used to make sneakers. This materials by no means decomposes and releases poisonous chemical substances within the atmosphere which contributes to ozone depletion and world warming. It takes twice the quantity of power and water to fabricate them,” Parth explains.
“Apart from, persons are utilizing extra sneakers than on a regular basis chappals (slippers) today. They need the consolation of chappals in sneakers with out sporting heavy, leather-based boots. So we determined to make sneakers which might be light-weight and may be worn with out socks,” he provides. Because of their pure make-up, these sneakers gained’t make your ft odor.
“Our thought may additionally save pointless piling up of sneakers in landfills as waste. We might additionally find yourself giving life to them by one other 3-4 years. Our father taught us the worth of recycling,” he provides.
Sustainable & sock-free sneakers
After the analysis and growth strategy of two years, the siblings discovered a sustainable different to fabricate environment-friendly sneakers.
“Sugarcane is extensively utilized in India. Once we drink ganne ka juice (sugarcane juice), we see the slag left behind as residue. Being within the pharmaceutical discipline, I got here throughout Brazilian resin provider which innovated sugarcane EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) copolymer derived from sugarcane,” says Parth.
Intrigued to utilise the modern carbon-negative materials, Parth collaborated with the corporate to make use of sugarcane EVA to make the sneakers’ outsoles smooth and cozy. Apart from this, they integrated renewable and recyclable supplies like merino wool and plastic water bottles to 3D-knit the sneakers.
Explaining how the sneakers are made out of recycled plastic bottles, Parth says, “First, we make pallets from plastic bottles that are then melted into yarn. We then mix merino wool into it to make propitiatory threads. So, whereas the outsoles made out of sugarcane EVA present sturdiness and suppleness to the shoe, yarns made out of single-use plastic bottles and merino wool with its pure antibacterial properties present consolation for long-day use.”
Neha Parekh, who has been utilizing these sneakers for nearly 4 months, tells The Higher India, “As a part of my company job, I’ve to drive and stand for lengthy hours. The sneakers I’d put on weren’t snug and made my ft sweaty. I used to be looking for some snug sneakers or flats choices which I may put on day by day with minimal design.”
She provides, “After I first wore Reroute sneakers, I didn’t really feel like these sneakers are made out of plastic. They’re very snug to put on. It seems like a feather on my pores and skin.”
Priced at Rs 2,999, these sneakers weigh 180 grams. Parth informs that between 95 and 110 grams of this comprise sugarcane residue. Curiously, the duo recycles 11 plastic bottles to knit a pair of sneakers. To this point, they’ve turned almost 40,000 plastic water bottles into Reroute’s proprietary knits.
True to their firm’s motto, which is ‘Made With out Regrets’, Parth says,
“Our father would inform us that if you’re not glad to buy a product your self, you gained’t be capable to promote it. We remembered this lesson whereas manufacturing our sneakers.”
He provides, “Right now, we make our merchandise with none regrets, which can also be our firm’s motto. We purpose to refurbish these sneakers as soon as they flip outdated and donate them to the needy or recycle them to make new merchandise, identical to our father envisioned,” says Parth.
Swachh Kadam: This Mumbaikar Is Recycling Sneakers To Deal with The Downside Of Waste: Printed by Anisha Bhatia for NDTV on 15 Might 2017
Edited by Padmashree Pande. All photographs: Reroute