Biodegradable “ghost” sneaker launches in New Zealand

September 27, 2021 |

In New Zealand, pandemic boredom has led to the creation of the country’s first biodegradable shoe. 

Orba’s Ghost sneaker, which is 94% plant-based, was conceived last year by Greg Howard during the country’s strict pandemic lockdown. The kicks feature a biobased rubber sole made from natural rubber, rice husk ash and coconut oil. The insoles use corn, coconut husk and natural rubber. 

“The basic principle of the shoe is that we wanted to design a biodegradable shoe right down to the finest of details,” says Orba sustainability manager Gillian Boucher. “Take for example the eyelet, most shoes would have metal or plastic eyelets so we had to find a way to create them without these materials. We decided to try embroidering them which is something the footwear assembly manufacturer had never done before—so there were lots of firsts during the production process.” 

Once the consumer is done with the sneakers, they can send them back to Orba for biodegrading under specific conditions.  “I think we are going to see companies working together to work on collection systems with infrastructure for industrial compostability and biodegradability facilities,” Boucher adds. “Right now you can have a lot of things that are biodegradable, but it has to be in the right conditions. We need to ramp up infrastructure, working together to deal with these products. We want eco-friendly products, but the industry has to start looking at ways to deal with them in the end.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Chemicals & Materials

Thank you for visting the Digest.