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Eti O'ri

Industrial design Ecodesign

The world's beaches are now witness to the marine pollution for which mankind is responsible. Large quantities of marine plastic waste are polluting oceans and coastlines alike, waiting 100 to 1000 years for their degradation to take place.

Among this waste, flip-flops and other beach sandals are the symbol of the seasonal human activities that contribute to this pollution. Every year, 400,000 of them arrive in Kenya alone via ocean currents. Produced from petroleum and various chemical additives (arsenic, zinc oxide, mercury, peroxides, styrene), these shoes take 500 years to degrade on our coasts, impacting soil and water as much as the flora and fauna that live there.

At the request of Biothings, designer Guillian Graves and the team at Enzyme & Co have come up with a more sustainable alternative to the traditional plastic sandal: Eti O'ri.

Eti O'ri is a range of flip-flops and sandals whose material, shape, structure, use and life cycle have been designed to reduce its environmental impact and change behaviour.

The shoes are made from oyster farming waste (crushed oyster shells) and a natural binder to give them a degree of flexibility. The use of this biodegradable and compostable material has been kept to a minimum by working on the internal structure of the sole. Each of the different parts that make up the sole can be assembled without glue.

In terms of use, significant improvements have been made by designing a new type of strap that can be adjusted to fit any foot, improving walking comfort and avoiding harmful effects on plantar joints. A new retractable shoe fastening system also makes it easier for users to carry or store their shoes, and ensures that they don't lose or forget one of the two shoes that make up the pair.

As far as the life cycle is concerned, and to ensure that these sandals - although biodegradable - don't end up in nature, each pair retains a certain value even at the end of its life: the user is buying a duration rather than a product. A service has therefore been devised. It allows each Eti O'ri owner to exchange their used shoes for a new pair during the period purchased. The sandals recovered in this way can then be sent to a composting plant for recycling.

In short, Eti O'ri is a range of flip-flops and sandals of a new kind, designed to be more respectful of the environment while providing comfort and functionality for the wearer.