Celebrate Earth Day with footwear made of recycled tyres (With Images)

April 20th, 2011 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) With the world celebrating International Earth Day on Friday, leading manufactures and designers in the footwear industry are contributing with an intiative called “Soles with Souls” by recycling tyres to create footwear and accessories.

“It is our way of showing respect to the earth we inhabit as the impact of discarded tyres is hazardous. Soles with Souls will open up a new front towards environmental consciousness and will inspire responsiveness to emerging socio-environment needs,” said Raghupati Singhania, vice chairman and managing director, JK Tyre & Industries

Through Soles with Souls, JK Tyre and the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) used unconventional methods and created footwear and accessories by using old and recycled tyres.

“Last year we have seen a tremendous development in the footwear sector so this will be an innovative step towards the industry. This eco-friendly project will not only help the government sector but the general public also. This affordable footwear will not only be eco-friendly but also have a commercial viability,” FDDI managing director Raajeev Lakhara told IANS.

“Today, in India, the per capita consumption of footwear is less than 2 perecnt (1.7 approx) and if we compare it with developed countries, the difference is 20 percent. So we can say that as the country is developing and we are moving towards becoming a developed nation, the consumption of footwear is going to increase. The government is also trying hard to develop the footwear industry and similarly, if the consumption grows, then this type of a product will get an amazing feedback,” he added.

The initiative is a business proposition to the tyre industry to urge them to utilise hazardous waste by making it viable. The government will support this financially and technically.

“FDDI is a government authorized institute and every initiative of ours is government approved. In the past, the government launched a scheme where the footwear industry has got a subsidy of 32 to 40 percent. They are coming up with more offers supporting these types of projects, where government is helping both financially and technically,” Lakhara said.

Over 40 pair of shoes and accessories were made by FDDI students after seven months of conceptualization, implementation, hard work and training on recycling tyres to create fancy products.

“We started working from scratch and the people from JK Tyre helped us in getting an idea about how the tyres are made. They showed us the entire manufacturing process. Yes, we faced little bit of problem with wire tyres, but that was fine as designing for such a noble purpose was worth it,” said FDDI student Ishnit Juneja.

The designs vary from office wear to casual sandals, to belts and fancy bags in dark and lighter shades, for both men and women.

“We divided the team in eight groups and each group was supposed to make a minimum of five pairs. JK Tyres had given us a target of 42-50 pairs, but we actually managed to give only 40 pairs. After getting the feedback from customers, we will design more footwear and accessories,” Bhaskar Rao, another student, added.

The tyre manufacturing company plans to organise exhibitions and use various other industry platforms to create awareness about the concept. The funds generated by the sale of this footwear will be used to promote the initiative.

“We are still in the process of finalizing the marketing tools and how to take this intiative further to attract a wider audience,” said Singhania.

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