Cleveland, Ohio — Lubrizol's Engineered Polymers business has built a portfolio of polymers that could make a 100% thermoplastic polyurethane shoe.
The materials include Esdex TPU for upper yarns, BounCell-X thermoplastic cushioning foam and Estane TRX TPU for outsoles. Also in the portfolio are Pearlthane Eco TPU and Estane 3D TPU, plus Pearlbond TPU for the adhesives.
According to Lubrizol, the US Department of the Interior estimates that Americans throw away 300 m pairs of shoes each year. Many of these will take 30 or 40 years to decompose fully.
Shoes made from these materials can be re-ground when they wear out. Regrind, like process scrap, can then be used to make new shoes, according to Justin Park, Lubrizol's global market segment manager for performance footwear.
In addition, Lubrizol claims that a recyclable shoe made with its these materials would not compromise performance. It could be recycled in locations where recycling programmes for materials are found.
Lubrizol claims that another advantage of the portfolio for footwear applications is that it provides customers with a single solution provider.
This story first appeared in Rubber and Plastics News.