October 3, 2011
New Balance is making the most of old plastic bottles. The footwear company is launching a new line of shoes made from 95 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. New Balance says it takes about 8 plastic bottles makes enough high quality polyester fabric for one newSKY shoe.
The bottles are chopped up into flakes, then heated and molded into a fleece-like material called Eco-fi. The fabric is 10 percent lighter than cotton and can repel water. Eco-fi also keeps out the cold better than wool or nylon. The recycled fabric replaces parts of the shoe that are normally made of foam, leather or virgin plastic. New Balance says other than small rubber components and a little bit of rubber based glue, the only material is used in the newSKY is the recycled fabric.
The Eco-fi material is made by Foss Manufacturing which says potentially anything made of polyester can be made using the recycled fabric. Foss officials say the fabric has a higher strength than most of the polyester you’d find in clothes.