As a substitute of throwing out used child sneakers, a Portland, Ore., startup need you to boil them.
Woolybubs founders Jesse and Megan Milliken felt responsible about how continuously they threw away outgrown garments for his or her three children, figuring out that the garments would find yourself in landfill.
They addressed the problem by creating biodegradable child sneakers that dissolve in boiling water.
Jesse beforehand spent 15 years at Nike in product creation and innovation, working intently with design and manufacturing. Megan labored as a program supervisor at CLEAResult, creating methods for shoppers in vitality effectivity industries. Combining their backgrounds in footwear and sustainability, the husband-wife workforce based Woolybubs in January 2020.
Time lapse of Woolybubs shoe dissolving in boiling water (Woolybubs Video).
The sneakers are created from a water-soluble plastic referred to as Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which makes use of much less vitality and water than different textiles throughout manufacturing, in accordance with Woolybubs. The corporate sought the very best commonplace for testing, the Oeko-Tex 100, to certify that the dissolved answer is non-toxic and may be safely poured down the drain.
The founders have been impressed by comparable dissolving applied sciences in dish water and laundry detergent pods.
“We checked out one thing that existed on this planet and solved a barely completely different drawback, and noticed a possibility,” Jesse mentioned.
The corporate says greater than 300 million pairs of sneakers are thrown away annually.
In 2018, the EPA reported that textiles accounted for five.8% of complete municipal stable waste era. Textile waste additionally has an financial affect — disposing textiles sometimes prices $45 per ton, in accordance with a report from Inexperienced America.
Woolybubs at the moment presents three merchandise — the Beginner, Toddle, and Woolybub. Whereas solely the Beginner can dissolve, the Toddle and Woolybub are stitched with yarn created from discarded plastic. All sneakers may be despatched again to the corporate to be recycled once more. Costs vary from $38 to $48.
Sooner or later, Woolybubs plans to develop right into a children footwear firm, reasonably than simply infants or toddlers. The corporate has two workers and is self-funded.