OrthoLite, Novamont to Create the Circular Foam Footwear

OrthoLite, a leader in sustainable, performance and comfort insoles and footwear materials solutions, and Novamont, a leader in the development, production and eco-design of biodegradable and compostable bioplastics and biochemicals, announced an exclusive partnership in the creation of OrthoLite Cirql, a circular foam material solution for footwear.

OrthoLite Cirql foam is a patented footwear materials solution combining OrthoLite’s 26 years of expertise and innovation in foaming polymers and Novamont’s bio-based, compostable and recyclable polymer to provide a technology capable of reducing the high impact of the manufacturing process with multiple end-of-life disposal options.

According to a new Life Cycle Assessment carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a typical pair of running shoes generates 14 kg/30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to running a 100-watt light bulb for a week. Every year, in the United States alone, people throw away more than 300 million pairs of shoes, 95 percent of which end up in landfills.

OrthoLite Cirql will offer a traditional plastic-free, scalable and truly circular material to OrthoLite’s 500-plus footwear brand partners and factory stakeholders in 2023.

OrthoLite sought out Novamont’s pioneering activities in the field of the circular bio-economy and for its 30 years of experience in the development of chemical and biotechnological processes to create low-impact certified biodegradable and compostable solutions with multiple end-of-life options for everyday life, including packaging, separating organic waste collection, retail purchasing, disposable tableware, farming, lubricants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and more.

OrthoLite Cirql is free from “forever chemicals” and responsibly sourced from non-GMO traditional vegetable raw materials derived from plants plus synthetic biodegradable materials. The material can be returned to the production cycle by low-energy, advanced chemical recycling to help keep materials in use or back to nature as fully compostable through selected industrial composting methods and processors.

Using existing and new, closed loop, take back, recycling streams for footwear, scalable end-of-life management will involve collaboration with footwear brands and the waste management sector. OrthoLite Cirql also helps avoid the accumulation of persistent microplastics as particles will biodegrade similar to natural polymers such as cellulose.

Novamont Research developed a tailor-made bio-polymer material for OrthoLite Cirql’s chemical-free foaming process which uses nitrogen (from the air we breathe) combined with renewable energy. Unlike the conventional foaming methods currently used, no dangerous or toxic chemical additives are used in the production of Cirql. The biopolymer pellets are melted and mixed with liquid nitrogen under extreme pressure, in a unique injection molding process that results in incredibly efficient cycle times that reduce energy consumption and create a finished part with no downtime, polymerization or waste.

Certified as a B Corp in 2020 with a top-tier ranking, Novamont is a member of the United Nations’ Global Compact network, a leadership platform for the development and implementation of responsible corporate policies and practices.

OrthoLite Cirql marks the company’s debut in the footwear industry. Together, the partners are bringing a global solution for environmental improvement across the global footwear industry, a market currently valued at around $400 billion.

For more information about OrthoLite Cirql, visit OrtholiteCirql.com. For more information about Novamont, visit Novamont.com.