OrthoLite partners with Novamont to develop first circular foam material

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-03-14 16:32:58 – Italy

OrthoLite®, the global supplier of sustainable, performance and comfort insoles and footwear materials solutions, has announced an exclusive partnership with Novamont, the international innovator in the development, production, and eco-design of biodegradable and compostable bioplastics and biochemicals in order to create OrthoLite Cirql™, the first circular foam material solution for footwear in the world.

OrthoLite Cirql foam, a patented footwear material, combines OrthoLite's 26 years of experience and innovation in foaming polymers with Novamont's globally renowned bio-based, compostable, and recyclable polymer to create the first technology capable of significantly reducing the high-impact of the manufacturing process with a variety of end-of-life disposal options.

A normal pair of running shoes emits 14 kg/30 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is equal to running a 100-watt light bulb for a week, according to a recent Life Cycle Assessment conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). More than 300 million pairs of shoes are discarded annually in the United States alone, with 95% of them ending up in landfills.

In 2023, OrthoLite Cirql will provide its 500+ footwear brand partners and factory stakeholders with conventional, plastic-free, scaleable, and fully circular material.

Glenn Barrett, CEO and Founder of OrthoLite, said that OrthoLite Cirql reveals the route ahead to fully circular footwear. They are thrilled to be working with Novamont to advance scalable solutions to spur improvement in the world of footwear. This alliance is based on openness and honesty, as well as a tireless dedication to giving their 500+ global footwear brand partners access to circular materials from a single source, beginning with the midsole.

Due to Novamont's groundbreaking work in the field of the circular bioeconomy and its 30 years of experience developing chemical and biotechnological processes to create low-impact certified biodegradable and compostable solutions with multiple end-of-life options for daily life, including packaging, separating organic waste collection, retail purchasing, disposable tableware, farming, and lubricants, OrthoLite sought out the high-tech bio-polymer company.

Catia Bastioli, CEO and Founder of Novamont, said that proving by facts that it is possible to 'do more with less,' Novamont has always based its model on the development of products conceived as true catalysts for change, capable of triggering much greater systemic effects than the product itself, and not as mere substitutes for traditional ones. Their philosophy has always been to avoid the issues associated with the buildup of pollutants in the environment, and the successful partnership with OrthoLite, a business that is also dedicated to finding solutions and not just products, allows them to bring our approach to the footwear industry for the first time.

In addition to using traditional non-GMO vegetable raw materials obtained from plants and synthetic biodegradable components, OrthoLite Cirql is devoid of "forever chemicals" and responsibly sourced. By using low-energy, cutting-edge chemical recycling to help keep materials in use or by returning them to nature as totally compostable by using specific industrial composting processes and processors, the material can be put back into the manufacturing cycle. Scalable end-of-life management will require working with footwear brands and the waste management industry in conjunction with existing and future closed loop, take back, recycling streams for footwear. OrthoLite Cirql's particles will biodegrade similarly to natural polymers like cellulose, which will assist in preventing the buildup of persistent microplastics.

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