We have all heard of shoes made from tires and recycled plastic, but what you are going to read now is truly unheard of.
Vietnamese immigrants Jesse Khanh Tran and Chu Hoang Son came to Finland to study international business and IT respectively. They got together for Finland’s Summer of Startups 2016 and won the same with their project Factory Finder, an online platform connecting European fashion brands with Vietnamese factories.
However, both of them had a keen interest in fashion and environmental protection, and out of sheer interest, started Rens Original- a company that makes sneakers from old coffee grounds. Using a Kickstarter fund, they actually combined coffee grounds with recycled plastic pellets from water bottles and made sneakers out of it.
According to a study, 23 million tons of coffee waste is produced globally every year. And this waste releases methane when it breaks down, which is around 28 times more harmful than CO2. Just about 5% of coffee waste in the world is recycled appropriately.
Now, it is interesting to know that Finland consumes the most coffee per person in the world, and Vietnam is the second-largest global exporter of coffee beans.
And to make a pair of shoes at Rens Original, it just takes about 300 gms of used coffee grounds.
Another important reason for them to choose coffee as their main raw material is the technical properties that coffee has. Like is is anti-microbial thereby making it odor-free for a long span of time and ensuring airflow inside the shoes.
Some other properties of these shoes include being lightweight, vegan, and UV resistant.
Son Chu, co-founder and CTO of Rens, asserts “We want to be a brand where we make sustainable products, but they are cool, they have really cool functions, people can actually use them.”
The first pair of shoes were launched in China in 2019 and were completely odor-free and waterproof. But owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo decided to move all their production facilities to Vietnam. However, they are still headquartered in Helsinki.
Rens Original footwear is sleek, fashionable, and loved by people all over the world. They are available in over 100 countries and territories and their largest markets are the USA, Germany, Netherlands, and Northern Europe. The co-founders now plan to use coffee grounds to make more wearable waste like athletic clothing.