recycled plastic bottles

World’s First Crowdfunded Climate Neutral Sneakers Are…Made With Coffee?

World’s First Crowdfunded Climate Neutral Sneakers Are…Made With Coffee?

Caffeine lovers may have met their match in a performance shoe that taps coffee grounds, among other more sustainable materials.
Finnish sneaker brand Rens is crowdfunding its latest vegan, climate-neutral sneaker the “Nomad” on Kickstarter as of Tuesday. Pledges to preorder the shoe start at $89 for early-bird backers with the ultimate retail price noted as $179. The sneaker comes in nine colorways. Its upper is made with a 50 percent blend of yarns spun from coffee grounds and 50 percent recycled polyester, averaging six recycled bottles per pair. The outsole is 100 percent sustainably sourced rubber and 100 percent EVA cushioning, with the insole and waterproof membrane comprising fully recycled materials.

Major convenience store chains in Taiwan and Mainland China fuel the coffee grounds supply, and the ensuing process transforms the grounds into a filament by way of polymerization (mixed with recycled plastic pellets).
Due to the coffee material’s natural antimicrobial properties, Rens boasts three times the odor control — an edge typically given by silver ion technology in performance apparel. The brand also cites quick-dry features and advanced ultraviolet protection.
The company was cofounded by 27-year-old Jesse Tran and 23-year-old Son Chu, who after their first shoe launch last year that sold in more than 100 countries were placed on Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list. This year, the company earned a Red Dot Design Award, which is an international competition for product design.

“Nomad is targeted at the performance junkie, looking for comfort and most importantly to make a positive impact on the environment through their purchasing decisions,” Tran said.
Between throwaway cups and coffee grounds (which are backyard compostable), coffee is chalking up a sizable footprint. It’s estimated by the National Coffee Association that the world consumes more than 2 billion cups of coffee every day, with millions of tons of organic waste attributed to the coffee industry annually. Based on research from the German Environmental Agency, reusable cup innovations — not unlike the paradigm shift occurring in retail bags — can have untold benefits, like a drastic cut in emissions, water use and deforestation.
“If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world,” said Tran. “Like all organic waste, when coffee is disposed of in landfills, it creates a perfect breeding ground for methane, a 28-times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. For most coffee waste, the landfill is its only destination.”
To date, the nimble start-up has recycled more than 250,000 plastic bottles and 750,000 cups of used coffee. Working with carbon offsetting firm ClimatePartner, Rens also measures, curbs and offsets carbon emissions at each stage including raw materials, packaging, production, transport and waste.
However, there are blind spots, Tran acknowledged. “Does utilizing coffee solve all of the problems associated with food waste? Of course not, but by looking at the materials we use in a new way, we can not only reduce our impact, but also unlock the full potential of these amazing materials beyond their initial purpose.”

The Kickstarter campaign, too, has its perks, he said. “Crowdfunding gives you better access, more feedback, a cleaner, greener and more affordable product and process, and a better overall sneaker.”

Ecoalf Introduces Its Most Sustainable Line Yet

Ecoalf Introduces Its Most Sustainable Line Yet

MILAN — Ecoalf’s mission to increase its sustainability is reaching new heights with the introduction of its premium line Ecoalf 1.0.
The Spanish brand known for its holistic approach to green fashion is introducing the line from fall 2021 as a laboratory for its most innovative eco-friendly solutions.
“It was about time to launch this line. My dream since the beginning was to create a premium sustainable collection taking sustainability to the maximum level. That’s how I envisioned 1.0, which is the result of 10 years of R&D,” brand founder and president Javier Goyeneche told WWD. The line is named after the brand’s trademarked moniker, which was only used internally.

Comprising men’s and women’s apparel and accessories with a minimal and clean bent, it highlights several fabrics that are exclusive to the line and were never employed before by Ecoalf, such as Kapok, a natural cellulose fiber sourced from the dried fruits of the kapok tree, which provides a soft and silky textile; vegan leather, made from bio-based vegetable oil and grape waste, as well as plant-based polymers Sorona by DuPont and Solotex.

A look from the Ecoalf 1.0 women’s fall 2021 collection. 
Courtesy of Ecoalf.

The line also expands Ecoalf’s signature Ocean Yarn to ready-to-wear and bags after it had been largely tested and tried on footwear for the main collection. The yarn is spun from recycled plastic bottles collected from the bottom of the oceans through their “Upcycling the Oceans” project carried out through a foundation established in 2015.

It includes common green textiles such as recycled cotton, which saves 1,466 liters of water and 5 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. Since its founding in 2009, the company has amassed 520 eco-friendly fabrics to rely on.
“We are trying to prove that we can have a premium sustainable brand in terms of materials, the way we design and the philosophy behind it,” which includes avoiding overproduction and strict discounting policies, said Goyeneche.
In sync with the investments it required, the Ecoalf 1.0 range is 30 to 50 percent more expensive than the brand’s regular products, with a price tag that spans from 60 euros for T-shirts to 700 euros for outerwear.
“We don’t want to have any limit because we want to explore new fabrics, for example for next season [spring 2022] we’ll be launching a new filament which doesn’t throw any microfibers back to the environment when you wash it. It’s a recycled nylon made from retrieved airbags, releasing 0.02 microfiber per wash, which is barely nothing,” Goyeneche explained.
All the company’s products are equipped with QR-based smart tags that allow customers to discover key information about manufacturing and sourcing across the people, environment and traceability indicators and this tool will be implemented across the Ecoalf 1.0 range, too.
The company has planned a distribution strategy for the 1.0 line, which is set to be distributed through a small number of international premium retailers, potentially opening up the brand to a customer base. There will be around 20 stores across Spain, Germany and Japan carrying the fall 2021 collection.
Touting the slow but steady strategy, Goyeneche noted that “for a lot of consumers the pandemic showed in a way that we need to start reacting and we need to redefine the business model to find a balance between the planet’s health and future and current needs and that’s obvious for many people that we have a responsibility now and an opportunity to redefine many things, not only in the fashion business which is a polluting industry but also at large.”

According to Goyeneche, this explains the brand’s resilience during the pandemic. Sales in 2020 increased 78.5 percent to 25 million euros, versus 14 million euros in 2019. The brand counts flagships in Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin and Tokyo and it is gearing up to unveil a Paris door on Rue du Temple at the end of August.

A look from the Ecoalf 1.0 men’s fall 2021 collection. 
Courtesy of Ecoalf.

Founded in 2009, the company applied and received the B Corp certification in 2018 and has undergone its second review and assessment, managing to improve its score by 28 points surpassing the 100 points threshold.

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