PLUSfoam has invented a 100% recyclable alternative to rubber!

Posted on 11 September 2017.

This Californian company helps brands and consumers "close the loop" with a 100% recyclable alternative to rubber, foam and plastic.

Recycling rates for some of the materials used in the textile industry, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), polyurethane (PU) and rubber, are very low. During the manufacturing process, most of the material scraps end up in landfills - or worse still in the ocean.

In Newport Beach, California, Jason Stanson and Bret Ritter, the two founders of the company PLUSfoam , have developed a 100% recyclable material and a pre- and post-consumer circular economy system. Patagonia, Vans, and Toms are among their customers.

In a traditional footwear factory for example, a large quantity of rubber and plastic waste from cutting out the sole and the different parts of the upper goes to landfill or is incinerated.

PlusFoam processes and reuses these off-cuts. Once shredded, they are reincorporated into the mixture used in manufacturing. Bret Ritter compares his material to cookie dough: "You make cookies, you cut them out, you mix what’s left in with the dough and you make more cookies."
In addition to minimizing manufacturing waste, PLUSfoam also manages recycling and recovery for its partners’ end-of-life products. Did your pair of flip-flops give up the ghost? All you have to do is go to the dedicated platform, Select the make and model and complete a short form to receive a return label.

Another advantage is that its inventors ensure that PLUSfoam compounds are designed to outperform (lighter, stronger and more weather resistant) the materials they are intended to replace. As a result, products last longer.

According to the company, 5 million products made from its material are now on the market - from flip-flops, backpacks and yoga mats to dog toys and bike saddles. More than 165 tonnes of manufacturing waste has been diverted from landfills because it has been immediately recycled in one of the ten PLUSfoam plants around the world.