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Biomimicry boost for footwear recycling efficiency

Taiwan – Young designer Ammo Liao from Taiwan has created an innovative piece of composite-free footwear with the help of a 3D printer. Known as the Bio-Knit shoe, it should ‘dramatically reduce’ the costs associated with recycling current multi-material products, according to its developer.

Modern footwear can contain as many as 65 components and require up to 360 manufacturing steps. ‘This is not only a waste of resources, but also a recycling issue our society should be aware of,’ Liao states.

Liao used 3D laser engraving to alter the strength and flexibility of the knitted upper section to ensure the right amount of support throughout the shoe. ‘Through biomimicry, single material can provide multiple functions to simultaneously display soft, flexible and robust textures,’ Liao explains. This approach is designed to boost recycling efficiency through not having to rely on a separation process.

Liao, who is currently based in the UK where he attended the Royal College of Art in London, points out that some 330 million pairs of shoes are sold nationwide each year and that each can take more than 50 years to decompose in a landfill.

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