Do you ever stop and wonder how much of the typical plastic we use becomes waste that pollutes our environment? I will admit, this is not something that has crossed my mind, often if at all. While doing some research for this piece, however, I came across some interesting information that will more than likely stay with me for good.
There is tons of information online detailing how different kinds of plastic degrade at different times. On average, plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade; therefore, most of it still exists in some form. A lot of our plastic waste ends up in the ocean and consequently in the guts of many of the animals that call that ocean home. Some of those small bits of plastic which contain toxic chemicals also end up on shorelines around the world where humans are most likely to come in direct contact with the toxins.
The mass production of plastics, which began six decades ago, has accelerated so rapidly that it has created 8.3 billion metric tons, of which 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste, according to National Geographic. Only 9 percent of that has been recycled. The rest accumulates in landfills, or sloughs off in the natural environment as litter, and, at some point, ends up in the ocean. While half of the American population recycles daily, there is still so much more that needs to be done. There are lots of people out there who either don’t understand the purpose of recycling or are confused about how to do it. We need to educate ourselves and waste less if we want to help the environment.
If you find yourself a little depressed after those statistics, do not fear! There is a good side to this story – a really good side for those environmentally conscious or anyone that appreciates a good pair of shoes. This is where Rothy’s comes in. When Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite teamed up to create the perfect shoe, they wanted it not only to be elegant, comfortable, and stylish, they wanted it to be environmentally friendly too. After four years and many failed attempts in the United States, the two found a way to manufacture their shoes in China, and the start-up was in business.
The company’s level of environmental responsibility is evident not only because of the millions of plastic bottles they are taking away from landfills to make their shoes, but also because their unique design and 3-D knitting technology eliminates waste. The process to make Rothy’s shoes begins with water bottles the company buys in bulk worldwide. The bottles are hot-washed, sterilized, and then chipped into flakes. Those flakes get shaped into little pellets that are heated and drawn into soft filaments of plastic. After a blast of air at high pressure the threads tangle and form fuller fibers. The machine uses the fibers to create shoes that are the right fit, color, and design. The three main parts of the shoe are completed and assembled by workers in their Chinese factory all in about six minutes, thanks in part’ to the 3D knitting technology.
Rothy’s come in two designs: The Point (pointy-toe) which cost $145, and the Flat (round-toe), that are $125. A bit pricey for flats, sure – but these are not just any flats. These shoes are not only earth-friendly and recyclable, they are a comfortable alternative woman can wear at home and for work, and are the perfect complement to any dinner outfit. They are made to get wet and dry fast, which brings me to the best thing about these shoes – they are machine-washable. If, after wearing them for a while, you manage to get them dirty and sweaty enough, you can just toss them in the washer and then let them air dry. The shoes retain their shape and come out of the wash as they came out of the box, according various online reviews I came across.
Unlike other leather flats that start to fall apart after a year or so, Rothy’s last a long time. Women on social media have commented on the shoes durability, with some having the shoes since the company’s original launch in 2016.
Once you feel you are ready to retire your shoes, you can send them back to be recycled by Plusfoam, a partner company that makes other performance materials such as yoga mats, outsoles, and other environmentally-friendly products. Shipping them back is free. Just fill out your info with Plusfoam, put your Rothy’s back in their resealable box, drop them in the mail, and they’re on their way to a new life that you can feel good about.
If you are ready to learn more about Rothy’s, visit their website rothys.com