Where it Started
The streets in Haiti are full of potholes and debris, and driving on them is anything but smooth! The rough terrain of the roads causes quite a few flat tires, and when its time to replace them, not only is there a tire left behind, but also a large donut shaped inner tube that is commonly inflated inside of tires in Haiti to help increase their durability. These inner tubes are much like what you may have floated on in the summer in your favorite lazy river. These often get left on the side of the road, and when they are finally collected, they are burnt as a means of disposal.
We knew if we could use tires to make sandal soles, surely there had to be a creative up-cycling solution for the rubber inner tube that was available. That solution soon became a full collection of eco-friendly accessories crafted from repurposed rubber.
Over time we have perfected the collection process by working with several collectors who bring discarded inner tube to be weighed, and are paid by the kilogram. This creates a flexible earning opportunity for families to supplement their income, all while helping to clean the streets!
Once the inner tubes are gathered and sorted, we wash them thoroughly to remove dirt, and to sterilize them.. After they are washed and polished, they are ready to be used by our artisans to create stunning leather-like accessories.
Why Up-cycled Rubber?
Rubber inner tubes are created from a synthetic material that will not biodegrade. Instead, they break down into micro-plastics. These micro-plastics are a common pollutant in oceans and soil. When this rubber is repurposed into functional accessories, you can give it a second life with each use of your handcrafted item.
Unlike other leather replacements the inner tube is 100% up-cycled. This means that it is used in its original form. There is no virgin plastic and no emission creating process to transform it into a usable material. We just give it a nice clean and polish, cut it to size, and it develops the likeness of leather!
These up-cycled accessories aren’t just good for the planet, they are also useful to you as a consumer! Rubber is water resistant making it super easy to clean, and it’s incredibly durable. So, you can have the stunning look of leather without any of the worry or maintenance. Check out our full eco-friendly alternative leather line today!