Economic review

San Francisco start-up turning plastic bottles to trendy shoes

2017-05-27 14:39:00 (Beijing Time)         CGTN

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Screenshot of CGTN

People discard water bottles every day with reckless disregard or barely a thought to where they might end up. One Silicon Valley start-up is finding these empty containers and putting them to work on people's feet.

Rothy's is the company that turns the trash into treasure. Here, shoemakers sterilize the bottles, add carbon-free recycled rubber, and recyclable foam, then feed into a 3-D knitting machine to finally transform them into a pair of shoes.

According to CGTN's Nanuka Danelia, it takes about three bottles to make one shoe, which is a drop in the ocean of plastic waste. About 50 billion water bottles were used in the U.S. in 2016 and according to environmental advocacy group Ban the Bottle, 38 billion of them were never recycled.

A pair of shoes takes around six minutes to make and costs as much as 145 U.S. dollars. But when they wear out, the company allows customers to ship their used flats back for free and they get recycled all over again, completing a pirouette of sustainability.