Share this story!
A couple in Oregon have created a pair of baby shoes that dissolve in boiling water. They are made from a kind of water-soluble plastic that for example covers detergent pods and pill coatings. The shoes are designed to last through two babies in order to keep its hand-me-down ability.
The shoes are known as “Woolybubs” and the Milliken couple made sure that the shoes aren’t fragile even though they disintegrate in water by baby testing them. No matter how much an infant wants to chew on them they won’t break.
According to the couple, 300 million pairs of shoes end up in landfills each year, each taking 40 years to decompose.
“It took us almost a year to develop this fabric that was durable enough,” Jesse Milliken told Fast Company. “It’s kind of ironic to use the word durable for babies, but durable enough to last and stand up to baby wear and tear, and then ultimately still break down and degrade in the right conditions.”
The shoes utilize polyvinyl alcohol, or (PVA) which is a biodegradable and water soluble plastic that completely dissolves in boiling water. Studies are being made to figure out whether or not it leaves any harmful residues behind when being boiled. Some researchers believe the PVA requires a special bacteria to break apart while some have found that it both dissolves and biodegrade without leaving any harmful trace.
Woolybubs have also designed a pair of shoes made from 100% recycled plastic for toddlers who begin to walk. When the kid outgrows them, they can be shipped back to the company for recycling.
The company has commissioned a separate study which will investigate if their shoes biodegrade in landfills or compost piles.
Picture: Fast Company