This 23-Year-Old Transforms Plastic Waste Into Kicks That Has A Lot Of Sneakerheads Talking

Ashay Bhave, a 23-year-old entrepreneur from India, is making waves in the eco-friendly fashion industry with his startup ‘Thaely’ — a venture that transforms plastic waste into stylish sneakers. In just six months, Thaely has recycled tons of plastic waste, including over 50,000 plastic carry bags and 35,000 discarded plastic bottles, into thousands of pairs of shoes.

What to know? The journey of Thaely, which translates to ‘plastic carry bags’ in Hindi, began as a design project for Bhave while he was pursuing his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2017. Today, his college project has blossomed into a successful, sustainable business model, making strides in the billion-dollar sneaker industry.

Although smaller than giants like Nike and Puma, Thaely, under Bhave’s ambitious vision, is expanding its reach to European and American retail stores, bringing its unique eco-friendly sneakers to a global audience.

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What’s unique about Thaely? The Thaely sneakers stand out not just for their fashionable design, inspired by early 2000s basketball sneakers, but also for their commitment to sustainability. Thaely makes the sneakers entirely from waste plastic and rubber. They use ThaelyTex, a fabric created from plastic bags, for the shoes’ exterior, and rPET (recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) derived from plastic bottles for the linings, laces, and packaging. Craftsmen craft the soles from recycled rubber sourced from industrial scrap and tyres.

Each pair of Thaely sneakers recycles 12 plastic bottles and 10 plastic bags, offering a stylish solution to the pressing issue of plastic waste. Priced at $99, these sneakers are available in four variants.

Ashay Bhave aims to sell around 25,000 pairs by the end of next year, which would mean recycling over 200,000 plastic bags. While Thaely’s products are proudly ‘Made in India,’ the brand is eyeing international markets like Dubai, Europe, the Americas, and Australia, where its innovative, environmentally conscious products have a greater appeal.

Read next: How This IIT Delhi Alumnus Drove A Used Car Company To A ₹14,500 Cr Valuation

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