Today’s Solutions: July 06, 2022

Look down at your feet. Your shoes might seem innocuous, but they contain lots of forms of plastic, and often leather, giving them their own sizeable carbon footprint. As all companies try to limit their plastic use, shoe manufacturers are trying to design new shoes with lower embedded emissions.

Canadian shoe company Native Shoes is doing it by making a shoe that’s entirely biodegradable because every component is made from plant material. They’re new, appropriately named Plant Shoe is made entirely from durable and natural fibers, including pineapple husk for the toe and tread made from the fibrous vegetable jute, soaked in olive oil. With this new development, Native wants to push the conversation around what’s possible in creating sustainable footwear.

Numerous other brands, like Allbirds and Everlane, have pioneered sneaker-manufacturing tactics that are more sustainable than the traditional leather and rubber combination that’s known to be environmentally intensive. Everlane, for instance, sources recycled plastic bottles to make its sneakers, and Allbirds uses innovative eucalyptus fibers and sugarcane to form its classic runners. A new Adidas concept shoe can be shredded and fully recycled into a whole new shoe.

All these sneakers are impressive, but what makes the Plant Shoe so cool is that when it eventually wears down, it can be tossed in the compost bin, where, once they’re exposed to bacteria and natural composting agents, they will start to break down in around 45 days. And because the whole thing is made with no chemicals or synthetic additives, it won’t harm the planet as it does so.

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