Recycled CO2 shoes with no carbon footprint

A New York product development firm creates a "footprintless" shoe from recycled CO2 to showcase progressive, new ways to capture gaseous waste from power plants.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - These sneakers have no carbon footprint.

They're made primarily from a custom polymer material that captures CO2 emissions during production.

New York firm 10xBeta designed the shoes, in conjunction with energy firm NRG.

"The recycled CO2 shoe is a shoe that showcases how one can make athletic footwear in the future. By not using petroleum byproducts to make your polyurethane but to use recycled CO2 effluent and capturing that in rubber compound," said Marcel Botha, chief executive officer of 10XBeta.

These compounds make up 75 per cent of the shoe, and the production process starts at a power plant like this.

Here the emissions are captured and liquefied, then made into Polyol chemicals that are in turn transformed into the flexible rubber-like material used to make the shoes.

Designer Berk Ilhan says sneakers are the perfect form to showcase the material: "Shoes, and especially sneakers are a very significant part of today's fashion culture and it's a representation of someone's style. So it's really visible out there in everyday's world and it's a great way of carrying a message."

"If we can inspire multiple industries to change the way they source base materials for whatever they would like to manufacture rather than saying 'we'll recycle this poorly produced product in the future' we can change the way that the supply chain addresses carbon waste," said Mr Botha.

The shoes are not for sale, but a prototype offering new perspectives on environmentally friendly products - a step in the right direction in the fight against climate change.