23-year-old Launches Sneakers Out of Recycled Plastic Bags, Bottles

Meet Ashay Bhave, India’s newest green entrepreneur, who founded the company Thaely. The sustainable company successfully recycled tonnes of plastic waste into thousands of pairs of shoes in less than six months of operation.

thaely sneakers
Screenshot from Business Insider via Youtube

Bhave, who was born in Mumbai and now lives in Dubai, has always desired to make the world a better place and contribute to environmental welfare. As a result of this enthusiasm, Bhave pioneered an innovative solution that opened the path for a greener fashion business.

Thaely: From a dream to a start-up

The brand name ‘Thaely’ literally translates to plastic carry bags in Hindi. The company has recycled over 36,000 plastic bags and 25,000 plastic bottles since it began manufacturing earlier this year.

In 2017, the 23-year-old came up with the concept while pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). Bhave admitted that he started thinking of his design when he heard about the passing of the single-use plastic ban in India.

He said in an interview on Elle, “I started Thaely after I heard about the single-use plastic ban in India. Though the law was widely celebrated, it was never imposed in most areas.”

Screenshot from Business Insider via Youtube

“I also found out that on an average 5 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year worldwide, and 14% of plastic bags make up the biggest portion of all marine plastic waste,” he added.

Bhave’s Thaely sneakers, which are entirely comprised of waste plastic and rubber, were boosted by winning at the Eureka business pitch competition in 2019 at Amity University Dubai. This aided Bhave in obtaining money for the development of a prototype. His shoe design is influenced by the sneaker trend of the early 2000s.

Thaely sneakers

Bhave’s new venture obtains raw materials from a waste management company. With the use of heat and pressure, plastic bags are converted into a fabric known as ThaelyTex. After then, the cloth is cut into shoe designs. Plastic bottles recycled as rPET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) fabric are used for lining, shoelaces, packaging, and other items.

Screenshot from Thaely via Facebook

The sole is constructed of recycled rubber from industrial waste and tires that would otherwise be discarded in landfills. Each Thaely shoe contributes to the recycling of 12 plastic bottles and 10 plastic bags. They are available in four variations and cost $99 each (Rs 7000).

Going global

By the end of next year, the teenage entrepreneur hopes to have sold 25,000 pairs of shoes, recycling over 200,000 plastic bags. Despite the fact that Thaely’s shoes are ‘Made in India,’ the firm intends to focus on overseas markets such as Dubai, Europe, the Americas, and Australia due to the product’s wider appeal.

Related: If you want to check if your business idea will be a hit or miss, you can read 8 Ways to Know If You Have a Great Business Idea.

Sally Mae
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