Swiss startup Kuori is making biodegradable and elastic materials to replace plastic in shoes
Spotted: Following extensive research into the role synthetic fibres play in the production of microplastics found in the world’s waterways, attention is now being given to an overlooked contributor. Most shoe soles are petroleum-plastic-based and, as such, contribute to the microplastic problem via everyday use. As people walk and run, tiny pieces of plastic are shed from their shoes and absorbed into the surrounding soil, air, and water.
Replacing plastics with biobased, biodegradable versions is one of the most important ways society can reduce microplastic pollution. Many companies are working on potential solutions, and one is cleantech startup Kuori. The company is creating bio-based elastic materials made from food side streams such as banana peels and nutshells – and the first application is shoe soles. This bioplastic is industrially compostable within 90 days.
Turning food production leftovers into something useful removes the need to process biowaste while also reducing the amount of microplastics being released into the environment. While shoe soles are the first application of Kuori’s technology, more products from other waste streams are already in development.
A funding round that raised €2.3 million earlier this year will help the business expand its reach in the B2B market and strengthen its supply chains. Kuori’s team is also actively seeking partners for new pilot projects, which would allow for the introduction of new materials and products.
Springwise has spotted other innovators in the fashion world who are looking to create beautiful products using waste – including vegan leather made from packaging and bags made from old fishing nets.
Written By: Matilda Cox