Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:02

Algae harvested and made into shoes

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To get enough algae to make one pair means cleaning 57 gallons of water, which are then returned to the lake. [Photo: courtesy Vivobarefoot] To get enough algae to make one pair means cleaning 57 gallons of water, which are then returned to the lake. [Photo: courtesy Vivobarefoot]

After a massive explosion of algae growth in China’s Lake Taihu a decade ago left more than two million people in the area temporarily without safe drinking water, the government started spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to try to solve the algae problem. One part of the solution: working with a company that harvests algae from the lake before it grows out of control, and turns it into a flexible, rubbery material that is now being made into shoes.

Vivobarefoot’s water-resistant Ultra III shoes are usually made from a petroleum-based version of the same material, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). But a version that will launch in July is made from a blend of algae and EVA, instead. To get enough algae to make one pair means cleaning 57 gallons of water, which are then returned to the lake.

Continue to the full article by Adele Peters in Fast Company |  May 30,  2017   |||