Basic environmental facts about the 300 million tons of plastic made every year are kind of a bummer: Only a measly 9 percent of those bottles we toss ever actually gets recycled.
And plastic is forever. Not the good forever, either, like diamonds—it's just eternal garbage, always polluting something somewhere: the ocean, full of microbeads, or the earth, where it's a buried and inorganic barrier to life above and below.
So Oliver Cabell has, after two years of research into how they can be part of the solution rather than the plastics problem, created the Phoenix. It's a sneaker made on a 3D printer out of recycled plastic bottles.
Oliver Cabell founder Scott Gabrielson says the brand's mission "has always been fairly simple...to marry the finest design, materials, and process with the latest technology, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. We feel that the Phoenix is the culmination of what we’ve been striving for since we launched.”
Here's how Oliver Cabell does it, according to their announcement:
The process starts with recycled bottles that are sterilized, washed, and cut into flakes that are spun into a fiber. That single piece of fused yarn then goes into a 3D knitting machine, which prints the material to shape inside the machine and comes out fully formed. Over seven recycled bottles are used to make one pair.
Gabrielson says that the "process results in 80% less waste and a seamless upper with no cutting, stitching or discomfort."
The Phoenix line is totally machine-washable and the shoes have been designed, according to Gabrielson, to be "incredibly lightweight and comfortable. We couldn’t have it feel like you were wearing plastic."
They're also made to be worn sockless, and are moisture-wicking with an antibacterial lining.
Look for the Phoenix in black or white colorways. They are an affordable and environmentally-safe $95 and available only via olivercabell.com.