Have you ever wondered what happens to tyres from vehicles once they outlive their purpose? Using a process called pyrolysis that involves putting them through a thermochemical treatment under high temperature, these tyres are often used to produce industrial oil. However, such a process emits gases that are detrimental to the environment. And those tyres that do not undergo pyrolysis are often dumped in rubber graveyards, where they are difficult to decompose and rather, aid large hazardous chemicals in percolating into landfills.
Pooja Badamikar, a young entrepreneur based in the Indian city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra, has found an innovative solution to this menace of plastic waste.
A post-graduate in renewable energy, Pooja has founded Nemital Footwear, a startup that creates beautiful, comfortable, and fashionable footwear from upcycled and scrap tyres!!
“Worldwide we generate around 1 billion scrapped tyres every year. So, I started thinking as to what can be made from tyres that can be used on a daily basis and at the end footwear was my conclusion,” Pooja says.
According to its website, “Nemi” means Chakra or Tyre and “tal” means Sole in Sanskrit. So, Nemital means TyreSole.
And how does she create the footwear?
The tyres are removed from their rims and the rubber obtained is cleaned meticulously. Then, it is crafted into the shapes required by cutting it into the required thickness.
Maharashtra: Pooja Badamikar, a Pune based entrepreneur upcycles scrap tyres to make footwear.
She says, “One billion scrap tyres are discarded annually in the world. I started working with help of local cobblers & made two prototypes. That’s how the journey began.” (22.12.2020) pic.twitter.com/ffWn6vSZPS
— ANI (@ANI) December 22, 2020
“Conventionally we use version rubber or plastic material as sole for footwear but we have replaced it with upcycled tyre and by that, we are helping to reduce the landfills, secondly we are helping to reduce the material like plastic to come to market and the third thing is we are reducing the use of resources such as oil and water which otherwise might have been consumed for manufacturing of that plastic or version rubber,” said Badamikar.
For her efforts to promote a greener environment, Pooja has received multiple awards since she began her journey in 2018. However, she is not satisfied with just using tyres and plans to diversify.
“We are planning to use upcycled textile and plastic sheets in footwear, very soon, as we transition from waste to wealth.”
Isn’t this a beautiful initiative to promote environmental awareness in a unique way? Let us know your views in the comments section below.