Old shoes are recycled & made into slipper. Thousands of needy children now have a spring in their feet, thanks to Greensole. In talk with Shriyans Bhandari, 24, CEO of Greensole.
Q. What made you start an enterprise which aims towards sustainability?
Being an athlete, we were tired of throwing away old shoes. Later we got the idea of recycling them to slippers. My co-founder Ramesh Dhami and I, started with a few pairs of recycling our shoes. Then we realized that it’s just not our problem but a bigger one with so many issues. As billions of people don’t have footwear, so we connected these two problems and started this enterprise.
Q. Can you elaborate the entire process from recycling the discarded sports shoes to comfortable footwear?
We receive a lot of shoes which have to be sorted out first. After manual sorting out, we take the uppers and the soles apart. The sole is different in every step and uppers are utilized in whatever we can. Then there is a dye cutting process & another process which is used to make the footwear formalized and standardized. Using minimum new material we create a new slipper.
We are also starting skill centers, started now with TATA Steel
Q. Who are the beneficiaries and how are you creating a social impact?
We are creating an impact on recycling. And we are donating these recycled slippers to school children who are in need across India. These children belong to government schools and far off cities. We have NGO partners & associated people who give us the information to go and conduct the survey.
Q. How does Greensole ensure that no under-served is barefoot?
We are not just donating but creating an infrastructure so that everyone has footwear. Every year the numbers are doubling and donating more and more pairs. We are also starting skill centers, started now with TATA Steel.
Q. What piece of advice would you like to give to the students who are interested in social entrepreneurship?
At a young age, one should not fear to start a social venture. As we tend to have enthusiasm, energy at this age so we can solve a lot of problems. It’s a long term journey and we can turn it into profit social venture.