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Recycled Bottles Find New Life on Women’s Feet



A company in San Francisco, California, has found a way to turn used plastic bottles into women’s shoes.

Every day, millions of Americans drink water and other liquids from plastic bottles.

More than 60 million of them are thrown away each day. Many of the plastic bottles end up in landfills or are burned with other waste products.

A San Francisco start-up company called Rothy’s, however, turns this plastic waste into environmentally friendly shoes.

Roth Martin is the company’s co-founder. He explains how they turn plastic into soft material for your feet.

They take the plastic, clean it, and break it down into small pieces. Then they press it through a device that makes soft fibers.

Those fibers are then combined, or knit together. This is done by a three-dimensional knitting machine. It is designed to reduce waste while making the shoes.

Rothy's shoes are made from recycled plastic water bottles. The fibers are knit together into a fabric. The outer sole on the bottom is made from environmentally friendly rubber.
Rothy's shoes are made from recycled plastic water bottles. The fibers are knit together into a fabric. The outer sole on the bottom is made from environmentally friendly rubber.

The knitted fabric and the inner part of the shoe are then attached to the shoe's outer part, called the sole. This outer sole is also made from environmentally friendly material: responsibly sourced no-carbon rubber.

Rothy's shoes are sold online. They are flat shoes, with either a rounded or pointed toe. They come in different colors and designs. They cost either $125 or $145 per pair, depending on the design.

After American actress Gwyneth Paltrow discovered them last year, the demand for the shoes grew.

Martin says there is no shortage of material to fill that demand.

"We’re not going to run out of water bottles any time soon. So we have an infinite supply of material, and I think that bodes well for our future."

When the environmentally friendly shoes wear out, customers can return them at no cost to a company that uses the recycled materials to make other products.

For now, the shoes are only available to be shipped in the United States. However, the company says it will add international shipping in the near future.

I’m Anne Ball.

Deborah Block wrote this story for VOA News. Anne Ball adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and visit us on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

landfill – n. a system in which waste materials are buried under the ground

knit – v. to make (a piece of clothing) from yarn or thread by using long needles or a special machine

rubber – n. a strong substance that stretches and that is made out of chemicals or from the juice of a tropical tree

infinite – adj. having no limits

bode – v. to be a sign of a future event or situation

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