#Changemaker: turn olive pits into shoes and wave microplastics goodbye

After a top chef-quality cooking session in your kitchen, it would not cross your mind that in your bin lies a potential solution to stop the pollution of microplastics. 

But alas, olive pits, walnut shells, and other food side streams can be used to produce shoe soles, wheels, toys, or even ping-pong rackets. We talked with Sarah Harbarth, CEO and Founder of Swiss cleantech startup KUORI at the Greener Manufacturing Show. 

Sarah explained that just walking outside, for example, our shoes release a lot of small particles, called microplastics. They cannot decompose, polluting the planet day by day.  

KUORI has committed to solving the issue, by producing biodegradable granules from food byproducts. “What we do is biocompounding, where we create a material formulation,” elaborated Sarah. The startup has already tried more than 40 formulations with different food side streams. 

“Our materials are industrially compostable which means they can decompose in a biogas station within 90 days,” added Sarah. 

The granules are going to be on the market any minute now, and Sarah states that the biggest hurdles revolve around getting different certificates. By providing an alternative to traditional plastics, KUORI hopes to expand the limits of the plastic industry but first needs verification to do so. 

“We have to watch out about greenwashing and be very transparent with our production methods and what we use at the end,” explained Sarah, adding that the focus lies in the biobased content inside of the granules, their biodegradability, and reaching industry standards. 

Kudos to KUORI for this great initiative for developing better solutions for the planet! Let’s make greener products together!