By Denna Bowman
First Timberland started using old tyres to make eco-friendly soles for their trendy footwear – now they are stretching their green credentials even further by using recycled latex.
Green Rubber Inc, which already manufactures soles from recycled tyres for the US footwear giant, has signed a new agreement to make athletic shoes, boat shoes and boot soles from used latex.
Green Rubber announced in a statement that: “Timberland shoes featuring ‘green rubber’ made from waste latex went into production last December and will be on sale in shops by spring 2010.”
The waste latex from various glove factories in Malaysia will be turned into green rubber at the company’s plant in Sungei Buloh.
Datuk Vinod Sekhar, chief executive of Green Rubber, added: “With our original deal with Timberland, we demonstrated to the market that we could make high-quality recycled compounds from waste tyre.
“This new agreement clearly shows that our technology works equally well with waste latex.”
Unlike other forms of reprocessed rubber, green rubber can be used in high volumes for top-end applications as it retains up to 90% of the properties of the waste compound from which it was made.
Timberland uses 47% tyre-derived green rubber with 53% virgin rubber in its black-soled footwear collection. The footwear giant will use similar percentages for latex-derived green rubber.
The process of making green rubber is environment-friendly and only requires manufacturing equipment commonly found in the rubber industry. The green rubber compounds are significantly cheaper than virgin compound.
Apart from shoes, green rubber is already being used in truck tyres, basketballs, dodgeballs, golf grips and has even tested well in the United States for roofing material.