OrthoLite, a global leader of sustainable, performance and comfort insoles and footwear materials solutions, and Novamont, a leader in the development, production and eco-design of biodegradable and compostable bioplastics and biochemicals, have partnered to create OrthoLite Cirql, the world’s first circular foam material solution for footwear.
OrthoLite Cirql foam is a patented footwear materials solution combining OrthoLite’s 26 years of expertise and innovation in foaming polymers and Novamont’s world-leading bio-based, compostable and recyclable polymer to provide the first technology capable of greatly reducing the high impact of the manufacturing process with multiple end-of-life disposal options.
The foam solution will offer a traditional plastic-free, scalable and truly circular material to OrthoLite’s 500+ footwear brand partners and factory stakeholders in 2023.
OrthoLite sought out the high-tech bio-polymer company because of Novamont’s pioneering activities in the field of the circular bioeconomy and for its 30 years of experience in the development of chemical and biotechnological processes to create low-impact certified biodegradable and compostable solutions with multiple end of life options for everyday life, including: packaging, separating organic waste collection, retail purchasing, disposable tableware, farming, lubricants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and more.
“Proving by facts that it is possible to ‘do more with less,’ Novamont has always based its model on the development of products conceived as true catalysts for change, which are capable of activating much greater systemic effects than the product itself, and not as mere substitutes for traditional ones,” explained Catia Bastioli, CEO and Founder of Novamont. “Our philosophy has always been to avoid the problems of pollutant accumulation in the environment, and the fruitful collaboration with OrthoLite, a company that is also committed in finding solutions and not just products, allows us to bring our approach to the footwear industry for the first time.”
OrthoLite Cirql is free from “forever chemicals” and responsibly sourced from non-GMO traditional vegetable raw materials derived from plants plus synthetic biodegradable materials. The material can be returned to the production cycle by low-energy, advanced chemical recycling to help keep materials in use or back to nature as fully compostable through selected industrial composting methods and processors. OrthoLite Cirql will also help avoid the accumulation of persistent microplastics as particles will biodegrade similar to natural polymers such as cellulose.
Novamont Research developed a tailor made bio-polymer material for the OrthoLite Cirql’s chemical-free foaming process which uses nitrogen combined with renewable energy. Unlike the conventional foaming methods currently used, no dangerous or toxic chemical additives are used in the production of Cirql. The biopolymer pellets are melted and mixed with liquid nitrogen under extreme pressure, in a unique injection molding process that results in incredibly efficient cycle times that reduce energy consumption and create a finished part with no downtime, polymerization or waste.