Recycling doesn’t always have an aesthetic appeal to it, but more and more eco-friendly brands are working to change this misconception. Their products are designed to not only help the planet but also give back to society. With bright ideas like these–instead of litter–piling up in the world, we have a better chance at achieving true sustainability.

Local Sustainability

Kurio Designs is a great example of a brand that’s deeply intentional with their work, and you can see that in every part of the process. Owner Megha Rawat creates and sells environmentally-conscious, upcycled, vegan footwear and other unique products. Growing up in Sri Ganganagar, Rawat recalls that she grew up appreciating every drop of water and every other thing her family had. She even says she learned the art of recycling materials from her mother, who would repurpose an old dress as a tablecover. 

Kurio’s products are made by local artisans as well as women self-help groups (SHGs) to provide them with a regular source of income. In addition to eco-friendly footwear, they create hair accessories, brooches, folders, fridge magnets, pouches, and coasters and more. Megha states, “We try to minimise the usage of virgin material as much as possible. Our shoe soles are made of recycled tires and the straps and coverings are made of hand weaved fabric or reusable scrap fabric. Most of the materials are sourced locally. Artisanal clusters around Mumbai also help us procure the items,” says Megha.

Full Circle Business Model

Everlane’s Forever Sneaker is a minimalist low-top shoe made with a recycled cotton-canvas upper and partially natural rubber sole. And to reduce waste in landfills, all Forever sneakers can be returned with a prepaid shipping label or to an Everlane store at the end of their lifecycles. The brand will then send the sneakers to a Debrand facility, where they will be repurposed into equestrian flooring and mats (such as door mats and standing desk pads).

The brand’s sustainably made sneaker collection also includes the Tread trainer and Court sneaker, both of which are completely carbon neutral. They feature non-plastic soles made with a blend of natural and recycled rubber and leather uppers sourced from Saigon TanTec, which said it uses 42% less electricity and 56% less fresh water than similar factories.

Created to look even better with age, the timeless style is also machine washable and durable. This makes an already sustainable product even more long-lasting! 

Worldly Applications

With these examples alone, you can imagine the potential that recyclable materials, and tires in particular, have in the fashion and home industries. Our only limitations are those we place on ourselves, at a societal, community and world-wide level. The more we come together to create something bigger than ourselves, the more impact we can have on the future of our planet and those who inhabit it.