Material science company Balena hopes to contribute to the fashion and footwear industry's push towards circularity with its new biodegradable alternative to plastic.
Balena, BioCycling in Action
Balena’s BioCir Slides are made from 100% biodegradable plastic and are described as the first fully mouldable, biodegradable elastomer which provides a viable alternative to other polluting plastic materials.
The company has created a new collection to showcase the fully compostable slides for both men and women. The slides are coloured and scented using natural cinnamon and have been designed and manufactured entirely out of Balena’s BioCir elastomer in Italy.
The first collection will made available in the company’s hometown, Tel Aviv, Israel.
The material has been developed to help the fashion industry put an end to unsustainable amounts of plastic waste and kickstart biodegradable plastic use in shoes and other clothing.
Balena’s BioCir 100% compostable plastic is described as being durable, flexible, soft, and smooth, which is why the company is using it as an alternative to other polluting shoe materials while allowing brands to develop footwear identical in look and feel to their current products.
The biodegradable material can be treated like any other and used in regular injection moulding processes as well as 3D printing, with the limitless manufacturing opportunities that these afford, says Balena. It can be integrated into regular manufacturing processes with ease and replicated at scale globally, reducing a significant barrier to entry for manufacturers.
Balena has also introduced a fully circular system – BioCycling – that facilitates the disposal and complete biodegradation of its BioCir slides in an industrial compost environment. Once a customer has finished using the slides they can return them to designated take-back spots throughout Tel Alviv where they are collected for full biodegradation at a local industrial compost facility.
The company says this model ensures the footwear does not end up in landfills and is instead recycled as part of its circular fashion system.
David Roubach, founder and CEO of Balena, explained: “The global fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. At Balena, our goal is to help turn this around. We’re doing this by creating our own viable biodegradable plastic alternatives and fully circular systems that can be easily scaled, and copied and pasted across the globe. We hope our BioCir footwear shows the world that there is a real alternative: Fashion can be fabulous, functional and Earth-friendly. We’re proud to be the company opening the door for any fashion brand to start stepping into a more circular future.”
The company is on a mission to transform the industry by creating a fully circular model that relies on the power of composting to lower fashion’s footprint on the global environment.