Sweet, Smooth and Sustainable

Posted on Fri, 08/17/2018
Sustainable recycled products

By Rich Martin and John Klise


We’re not fashionistas by any means (though we get rave reviews about our Paper Tiger apparel) so it might surprise you to learn how impressed we are with Allbirds footwear. But it has nothing to do with how their shoes look on feet.


The two-year-old San Francisco startup creates footwear using the sustainable resource of merino wool. First, we gave them points for capitalizing on what Mother Nature offers. Now, though, they get brownie points for manufacturing flip-flops using a groundbreaking new material called SweetFoam.


The vast majority of shoes contain some form of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA), an elastic copolymer similar to rubber, in their soles. This material has been made with petroleum. But Allbirds invented a more sustainable version of the foam using sugarcane. That’s right – the plant. While other shoe soles are adding to the carbon footprint, theirs is actually carbon negative. Plus, every part of their flip-flop is made from either recycled or bio-based material.


The company hasn’t stopped there. Read how SweetFoam is impacting other footwear companies.


The Possibilities of Plastics

Ever walk on a boardwalk or fishing pier and notice that the material was made of plastic? Or sat down at a neighbor’s backyard barbecue on an all-weather, ecofriendly chair showing nary a crack or splinter? If you haven’t yet developed an appreciation for this type of material, you should.


Polypropylene. Polyester. Silicones. High-density polyethylene. There are thousands of different plastics, each with its own characteristics and composition. One may be transparent like glass but tough and durable. Another may stretch and bounce back into its original shape.


Whether the plastic material used in furniture, decks, walkways or playgrounds is made of recycled composites or plastic lumber, according to the U.S. Army corps of Engineers, these materials have many advantages over their traditional counterparts. For our environment, the primary benefit is diverting plastic waste from landfills. For the property owner or facilities manager, another plus is that the material doesn’t need to be repainted or restained.  


Each week we ship bales of shredded documents to the paper mills for recycling. Every pound of paper we shred is recycled for reuse. In addition, we recycle all of the corrugated cardboard boxes we receive from customers (unless they want it back).


We support all types of recycling and the manufacturing of sustainable products. Watch for future blog posts on recycling.


Since 1997, Paper Tiger has provided residential and commercial document shredding and records storage services throughout northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. If you have questions about recycling or document shredding, please contact us.