January 27, 2023

Materials science company Balena, with offices in Tel Aviv and Milan, has unveiled cinnamon-scented slides made with 100 percent biodegradable elastomer to showcase its new sustainable technology.

The footwear is made from what Balena calls its ‘pioneering, fully compostable and biodegradable material’, which aims to provide durable, flexible and sustainable alternatives to plastics in fashion.

Balena’s BioCir is the first fully moldable, biodegradable elastomer developed to provide the fashion industry with an alternative to using plastic. The patented material consists of a maximum of 60 percent biobased material and the 100 percent compostable plastic is durable, flexible, soft and supple.

Image: Balena

The composition of the material makes it “the perfect alternative to today’s polluting shoe materials,” notes Balena, as it allows brands to develop shoes that look and feel identical to their current products.

The biodegradable material can be treated just like any other material and can be used in regular injection molding processes as well as 3D printing. It can also be integrated “with ease” into mainstream manufacturing processes, the start-up adds, and can be replicated at scale globally, reducing a significant barrier to entry for manufacturers.

Balena demonstrates the potential of its BioCir technology with 100 percent biodegradable shoes

To demonstrate the potential of the technology, Balena has created fully compostable slides for both men and women, designed and manufactured in Italy and made entirely from BioCir. Described as durable and comfortable, the slides have been distributed to thousands of wearers in Tel Aviv.

Image: Balena

As part of its debut, Balena has introduced a fully circular system, BioCycling, which facilitates the disposal and complete biodegradation of its BioCir slides in an industrial compost environment. Once a customer is done using the slides, instead of going to landfill, they can return them to designated take-back points around the city, where they are collected for complete biodegradation at a local industrial compost facility. Balena adds that this circularity model can be replicated around the world.

David Roubach, founder and CEO of Balena, said in a statement: “The global fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. At Balena, our goal is to help change this. We do this by creating our own viable biodegradable plastic alternatives and fully circular systems that can be easily scaled and copied and pasted around the world.

“We hope our BioCir footwear shows the world that there is a real alternative: fashion can be fabulous, functional and eco-friendly. We are proud to be the company that opens the door for every fashion brand to take a step towards a more circular future.”

Image: Balena

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