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Balena & Vivobarefoot, 3D-printed Biodegradable Footwear on-demand

https://balena.science/
By Balena.

Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling Industry: Commercial Material: BioCirflex3D® Machine: Prusa XL FDM
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Balena & Vivobarefoot, 3D-printed Biodegradable Footwear on-demand

Walk Lightly: Biodegradable 3D-printed Footwear for a Greener Future.



                        

Description

In a groundbreaking initiative, shoe brand Vivobarefoot and material science company Balena have joined forces to create a prototype trainer that is 3D-printed from compostable materials. This innovative approach aims to address the harmful impacts of the footwear industry by leveraging cutting-edge technology and material science inspired by nature. Balena's mission focuses on tackling environmental challenges by developing compostable, bio-based, and recyclable thermoplastic materials with advanced performance properties. These materials are designed for scalable production of durable goods, including footwear, to establish a circular model for consumer industries. The result of this mission is a mono-material shoe, 3D-printed from Balena's unique compostable thermoplastic material. At the heart of this innovation is Balena's BioCir®flex material, a revolutionary advancement in material science. This high-performance, durable, and flexible thermoplastic elastomer is fully industrially compostable and recyclable. Comprising over 50% bio-based content, BioCir®flex significantly reduces reliance on toxic, fossil fuel-based materials traditionally used in the footwear industry, such as TPU. The material is designed to decompose and biodegrade through a biological recycling mechanism, allowing products made from BioCir®flex to return safely to the earth within controlled industrial compost environments, thus completing a fully circular lifecycle. Vivobarefoot, a certified B Corp™, is committed to using business as a force for good. Their vision includes creating fully circular barefoot footwear with recyclable or compostable end-of-life solutions. VivoBiome, their ambitious project, envisions a scan-to-print digital footwear system that reimagines footwear design and production. Utilizing biomimetic design principles, additive manufacturing methods, and Balena’s biodegradable BioCir®flex material, Vivobarefoot aims to produce the world’s first 3D-printed, bespoke, and circular footwear. The collaboration between Balena and Vivobarefoot signifies a transformative journey toward mitigating the negative impacts of the footwear industry.

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