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The Three Why's Behind our Upcycled Tire Soles

Posted by Christal Earle on

I didn’t always feel so passionate about upcycled tire soles. 

However, I remember the first time I had an intentional thought about tires and the environment.

I was on the north coast of Dominican Republic, standing on a hill that could have been considered prime real estate for the view it provided. I could see the mountains of Puerto Plata to my left and the lush green expanse that rolled down to meet the deep blue of the Caribbean Atlantic all around me.  

However, the hill I was standing on was actually a garbage dump. Instead of being there to admire the idyllic location, we were walking through the garbage that covers about five acres of that land.

At the time, there were hundreds upon hundreds of tires cluttering the landfill.

Within those acres exists a small community of people. Like the items that find their way to that landfill, have been forgotten by many. Yet, they are actually part of a global community of more than 70 million landfill workers.

These are the people who sort through our garbage, helping to recycle waste on the front lines of the war that humanity seems to be waging against mother nature. 

Garbage dumps are the secret horrors the reflect our modern day lifestyle.

No one can claim immunity from taking responsibility for what they contain. The cost is astronomical on our world. 

In his book, “Outsmarting Waste”, Tom Szaky puts it into perspective: 

"Our waste is a monumental problem. Over the past 100 years, the amount of waste that humanity produces has increased by almost 10,000 percent. Developed countries produce more than 4 pounds of waste per person per day. Of that staggering volume, it is estimated that 25 percent ends up in our oceans, forming five gigantic, Texas-sized ocean gyres of garbage. Because of the complexity of much of our garbage, only a small percentage gets recycled…

While the global garbage crisis touches every individual in the world and grows every year, there is cause for optimism. Garbage is a rare example of an environmental problem over which, as individuals, we have tremendous control."

Obsessing over how angry or shocked we are over the problem won’t necessarily bring the change we all know we need. Fear is also not a strong enough motivator - nor is it necessarily a long term solution. 

However, like most solutions and changes that happen in life, we can find the inspiration within to create change.

The world we share is filled with the people we share it with - and all of those people matter. 

And if each of those people matter, it means that all of our choices matter, as well. 

In Brave Soles, we want to create ways for your choices to matter.

We love beauty. And the only true beauty that exists in our world is the kind of beauty that provides dignity to others and honours the world we all share. 

We can’t stop the world from needlessly consuming things overnight. But you and I can make changes that help it right now. 

For us, one of those places is with the possibilities in upcycled tires.

Here are three reasons why Brave Soles is focusing on using hand-cut upcycled tires in our designs:

  1. The process of recycling tires is more complex than many other items in the world. 

    When tires are completely broken down, it is a complex chemical process which can give off toxic gases in the process. We use a simple, hand cutting process that doesn’t involve any chemicals or toxins being released. Sometimes the most effective solutions are also the simplest. For our business model focused on personal and home fashion, we are committed to continuing to use only this process. We are in partnership with the earth’s resources with our tire soles and accessories and will continue to push ourselves to do it in an even greater degree in the days ahead. 

  2. We are providing equitable employment through our artisanal processes. The quest for beautiful things is part of the gift of humanity. However, our world has allowed that quest to grow to insatiable proportions. Our obsession with fast fashion and finding the lowest possible price has focused on one thing: our immediate gratification.
    We believe that it’s possible to have beautiful items AND create a more equitable world together.
    It’s not about having more, it’s about living better - and we all benefit from some simple shifts in perspective.
    Our employees and contractors are paid well above the standard wages in-country and each of our team members have flexible schedules that fit their lifestyle and family obligations.

  3. We refuse to separate our love for creation and our faith in humanity. 
    We succeed when we see them as a whole. Our business model has been designed with all of us in mind.
    The sales and support of people like you are helping us to work with those who want to break free from the clutches of poverty and make the world a better place.
    Together, we are helping micro-enterprises build new ideas and businesses from seeing the world’s garbage as an asset to be turned around into something useful and empowering.

The connection between who we are and the world we share can’t be ignored. 

Your support and faith in our products gives us the courage to continue to build a story together that we can all be proud to tell. 

Thanks for being someone who cares about their choices. 

~Christal Earle, Co-Founder and CEO

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