Are you ready to put more sustainability in your steps? Sure, you’ve heard of sustainable sneakers made of upcycled fibres, ethically sourced fabrics or recycled plastic, but what about sneakers made of coffee grounds?
You read that right. Finnish start-up Rens has created a waterproof sneaker made of used coffee grounds and recycled plastic materials as a way of reducing the carbon footprint of footwear.
Hit the ‘grounds’ running
Rens claims that each pair of coffee sneakers is made from six recycled plastic bottles and 150 grams of coffee waste. These materials are fully incorporated in the upper, the waterproof membrane is completely recycled and its polyester sock liner on the insole is made of recycled plastic. The combination of coffee grounds and PET create an ultra-flexible and durable material, resulting in a high-performance and long-lasting pair of kicks.
In addition to having sustainable sneakers, the coffee grounds that make the fibre material is naturally antibacterial, trapping unpleasant odours and dries faster than your traditional athletic apparel, leaving you feeling and smelling fresh.
Rounding up the sustainability cred of the coffee sneakers are the all-natural rubber outsoles sourced from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, and a 100% recycled cardboard box for shipping. If that wasn’t enough, all the materials, dyes and adhesives used in the sneakers are 100% vegan. It’s also notable that these sneakers are produced in Vietnam, one of the world’s largest coffee producers, giving Rens a steady stream of their sneakers’ key ingredient.
Why coffee grounds?
There’s no question about counteracting the impact of plastic waste—that much everyone is clear about. But why coffee grounds? While coffee grounds are biodegradable, the dirty truth is a by-product of its breaking down process is methane, which is more potent than carbon dioxide that traps heat in the atmosphere, which as we know contributes to climate change. And with over six million tons of coffee grounds finding their way to landfills every year, the methane it produces is equivalent to the emissions of 10 million cars!
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Based in the heart of Helsinki, Rens was founded in 2018 by Vietnamese sneaker heads Jesse Tran and Son Chu, who wanted to be more proactive in addressing the environmental impact of the global sneaker industry and was frustrated with the less-than-stellar sustainable sneaker options available in the market. They launched their first sneaker in 2019 through Kickstarter, which raised over US$500,000 within a day. And, the rest is history.
The coffee sneakers received the 2021 Red Dot Design Award for fashion design and are available in men’s and women’s styles in a multitude of colours including Artic Black, Classic White, Ocean Blue, Passion Red and Sweet Pink.
Each pair starts at US$159 with free shipping and can be ordered from Rens’ website.
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