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A Pair of Sneakers Made From Coffee?


Probably you are wondering what a pair of sneakers have to do with your teeth.

Well, we love great ideas, especially when these ideas involve creating sustainable solutions to help our planet.

2 billion cups of coffee are drunk every day around the world.

As you can see, it seems as if everyone likes coffee, and that’s a good thing considering all the useful properties this drink has, but unfortunately, it also produces a lot of waste.

According to sustainability researcher Gunter Pauli, global coffee production creates an excess of 23 million tons of waste per year.

That is a lot. Let’s find out how your next pair of sneakers could be made from coffee.


Primary Forms of Coffee Waste



Primary Forms of Coffee Waste

  • Coffee grounds end up in a landfill 
  • Being often washed into sinks or drains 

These are two of the most common forms of waste for Coffee, being the main contributor to all the food waste on our planet (a third of all food produced is thrown away). 

The Solution 

The answer to this general waste was formulated by two entrepreneurs in Helsinki that started making sneakers from used coffee grounds. 

Son Chu and Jesse Tran, the minds behind this revolutionary idea, are self-confessed sneaker obsessives. 

Concerned about their environmental impact, they found a way to make sneakers they found stylish and affordable. 

They created Rens, a business that combines material made from coffee grounds with recycled plastic waste to create a material used for footwear. 

To put it in perspective, a pair of their sneakers weighs 460g, of this amount 300g is from coffee waste. The equivalent of six discarded plastic bottles is also used in each pair.


Facts About Rens Pair of Snickers


Photo from www.weforum.org


  • The pair of sneakers are vegan and don’t use any material that harms the planet and the animals living on it.
  • The shoes help eliminate odors using the natural properties of coffee.
  • They already have customers in 57 countries.
  • Nowadays, the production of the coffee collection and shoe-making is in China.

Other solutions that turn food byproducts into clothing

With annual sales of 1.3 trillion, the fashion industry consumes vast resources that generate harmful pollution and emissions. 

It is responsible for around 20% of the world’s wastewater. 

Because of this, some brands are finding sustainable solutions threw manufacturing their products from Hemp, pineapple leaves, banana trunks, and sugar cane bars.

The following are some companies making a big change in the fashion industry in benefit of the planet we all live in: 


Kenyan brand Suave 

They source their material from offcut fabrics and unwanted leather by working with secondhand traders, factories, and tanneries. This is how they contribute to the planet: 

  • Buying unwanted and unsellable clothing 
  • Source waste offcuts from big factories and manufacturing clothes for export.
  • Purchasing rejected lower grade leather from local Tanneries.”

Their products

  • Colorful sleeves for laptops, backpacks, and handbags.

These are made from recycled fabrics and locally sourced African fabrics. 


Zurita is an ethical womenswear collection with the craft knowledge and heritage of Latin American

Their products are made from: 

  • Alpaca
  • Organic Pima cotton 
  • Silk

The designs of Zurita are inspired in geometrical figures thinking and creations of Andean Weavers

Their textiles and clothing do not leave any waste. 


Adidas is an example that more prominent brands are also aware of the damage the fashion industry has made to the planet: 

That’s why they are manufacturing their snickers with recycled ocean plastic: 

They expect to make:

  • Eleven million pairs of sneakers with recycled ocean plastic. 

They have 2,810 tons of plastic from reaching the oceans. 

  • Each item in the Parley collection is made from at least 75% intercepted marine trash.

How Are These Shoes Made?



Photo from www.findingcain.blogspot.com


  • First, they collect trash from coastal areas to make a pair of sneakers.
  • The waste is sorted, and the recovered plastic it’s sent to the Adidas processing plant.
  • Adidas uses plastic bottles that contain polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. And if it’s something Adidas can’t use, like caps and rings? Those get sent to standard recycling facilities.
  • The processing plant crushes, washes, and dehydrates the waste, leaving nothing but small plastic flakes.
  • The flakes are heated, dried, and cooled, then cut into small resin pellets. 
  • The Ocean Plastic to form the upper parts of shoes and clothing like jerseys. 

This is how the process works, and it’s good to know that the shoes from this collection still meet the same performance and comfort standards of Adidas’ other shoes. 


It’s a Korean brand specializing in upcycling. 

How do they contribute: 

  • Each item in the collection has a story and creates a new value culture in place of waste. 
  • They work with the mentally disabled -They deconstruct salvaged materials ready for reinterpretation and redesign
  • They-disassemble and re-commercialize ready-made products. 

Some material they use to fabrics their jackets, bags, and laptops: 

  • Seat covers.
  • Airbags, 
  • Fabric linings that make up a car’s interior.
  • Doodlage

Are based in India, perfect sync of sustainability and innovativeness. 

What products do they use to reduce waste?

  • Organic cotton.
  • Corn fabric. 
  • Banana fabric.
  • Leftover textile from large manufacturers.

The Challenge Ahead



Photo from www.ecotextile.com


40% of garment production is done in India, Bangladesh, and China. These countries alone produce enough waste to create 6 billion garments from just scraps and leftovers that go into landfills. 

Imagine that your next pair of sneakers could be made from that too. We can help our planet a lot!

Famous brand designers contributing to the planet sustainability 

  • Clothing company Hugo Boss has a range of footwear made from Pinatex, derived from pineapple plant fiber. 
  • Fashion designer Stella McCartney is backing a leather alternative called Mylo that comes from mushrooms. 
  • Salvatore Ferragamo has a range of clothes that use a material made from orange peel. 

57% of all discarded clothing ends up going to landfill,

35% of all materials in the supply chain end up as waste before a garment or product reaches the consumer”.

Greater use of alternative materials could help reduce the fashion sector’s waste levels and make use of leftovers from other industries.


What Can you Do to Be Part of the Solution?


Bamboo coffee cup. keep cup or travel mug in woman hand on abstr


Wash with care

Use green laundry detergent. It is as effective as the regular one without all the synthetic chemicals that harm the environment and pose health hazards.

Here’s a tip, to save more energy, wash on low heat, and line dry.

Discard responsibly

Try not to throw away your clothes when you’re through with them. Instead, you can hold an exchange with your friends; they say “someone’s trash is someone else’s gold,” so you can find something useful to you in your friend’s closet. 

Another option is to take them to secondhand shops and charitable organizations.

Buy vintage

Purchasing second hand represents another way to decrease your global footprint; it’s cheaper, so it’s a win for you, the store, the previous owner, and the planet. 

When in doubt, DIY

A DIY is an excellent option to give old, tired, or discarded clothes a new life. 

It is a matter of getting creative; with a little bit of love and work, you can do amazing things. 

Bag it

Biodegradable shopping bags are essential to reduce the footprint, and also there are very famous clothing brands that give you a discount for going with your shopping bag. 

Buy local

Buying local has many benefits because you reduce the environmental impact and support your community.

Supporting local businesses causes a decrease in transportation pollution. 

Also, these local companies are generally small, so they take up fewer resources. 

Invest in your shoes

The more you take care of your shoes, the longer they’ll last, that traducts into less consumption and waste. 

A good alternative is to take your new pair of snickers to a repair shop to add on heel covers and toe treads, this way you won’t damage the bottom of your shoes. 

When you have broken heels, cuts, holes, and fades in your pair of snickers, it is time to take them to the repair shop, do not throw them away. 

Know your fabrics

Here are some natural, eco-friendly materials: 

  • Bamboo.
  • Silk.
  • Organic cotton.
  • Soy.
  • Hemp.
  • Lyocell.

Before you shop, it’s best to know the ins and outs of each

As dentists in Tijuana, we support innovative ways to help our planet. Which of these eco-friendly practices of recycling are you using? leave it in the comments.


Dr. Cirenia Aparicio
Dr. Cirenia Aparicio
Dr. Cirenia Aparicio Miranda is our dentist in Tijuana and is hands down the best Mexico dentist. Distinguished by being one of the few members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Aparicio Miranda ́s work is synonymous with excellence and quality. She is a Mexico dentist accredited by the AACD and U.S. licensed dentist. With over 20 years of experience in the field of dentistry, Dr. Aparicio Miranda has changed the lives of thousands through her devotion to Dentistry and tender care.

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