Filipino entrepreneurs take small but sure steps to minimize the waste of discarded rubber tires and choose a most useful outlet: footwear.
/ by Jen Horn /
This is the challenge the team of Manila Sole Footwear took on when they decided to create their brand specializing in casual shoes for men and women made with recycled rubber tires and conveyor belts, and recently, also incorporated with textiles made in Baguio and Mindanao.
The impact of rubber tires
“A billion tires are sold annually worldwide. On average, a tire would last 2 to 4 years, depending on usage. So eventually, those tires will be thrown away,” shared Rex Somera, co-founder and managing partner of Manila ...view middle of the document...
Choosing the lesser evil
So, recycling rubber tires as shoe soles is among the safer options for reusing them. “If you can’t completely eradicate the problem, at least you can minimize it,” shares Somera.
“The more people buy our shoes (or recycle tires), the more tires we can keep out of the landfills. So if they’re in the market for a pair of shoes, I’d rather have them wanting our product because it can actually help save the environment compared to another shoe made with regular rubber soles,” adds Lanto.
This comes at a cost because finding recycled tires is less cost efficient for the team. It’s harder to source these by bulk compared to just buying new rubber sheets from China. Currently, they’re supplied with whatever their trusty mangbobote can collect for them for their production needs.
In spite of this, the team is dedicated to sticking to their core values of sustainability and Filipino pride, and choosing in favor of the long term benefit to the planet vs. the short term benefit to their wallet.
Manila heart and soul
“We’re not trying to be the leader, the voice of environmentalism here in the Philippines through our shoes. We just want people who buy our shoes to be reminded in their own little way, they can help our country by supporting locally made products, and by advocating eco-friendlier products made with recycled tires,” says Somera.
And they do, in fact, have customers who buy their shoes for their use of recycled materials.
“A lot of people are thinking, ‘Oh, we want to change the world. We have to think of the system or the big solution’, but most of the time you can’t find the huge solution. But the little solutions count, and people neglect the little solutions. It’s just as important. And if ordinary people can do the little solutions, all of them or many of them, then maybe, its a significant enough answer to a very big problem,” shares Lanto.
It may be easier said than done, integrating such changes in production, but there is an increasing demand for products with a purpose, and somehow, it is part of entrepreneurs’ responsibility to think of ways to do business more sustainably, a responsibility that Manila Sole has opted to care enough about.
The Importance of Tire Recycling
Old Tires Are Being Increasingly Utilized
By Rick LeBlanc, About.com Guide
With scrap tires are generated at about the rate of one per person in the US, or about 300 million per year, the importance of tire recycling cannot be understated. Going back 100 years or so into the history of tires, tire recycling was a priority, with the price of an ounce of rubber rivaling the price of an ounce of silver. That recycling motivation was derailed, however, by the introduction of synthetic rubber made from cheap imported oil, as well as by the adoption of steel belted radial tires which were much more challenging to recycle. As a result, worn out tires increasingly found their way to landfills or were often dumped illegally,...