Amity Dubai alum, 23, turns plastic waste into sneakers

Abu Dhabi: A 23-year-old former Dubai student from Mumbai, India, has managed to recycle tons of plastic waste into thousands of pairs of sneakers.

In July, the Swiss International School Dubai (SISD) offered its recycled sneakers in its uniform, in part because it wanted its story to inspire students.

Ashay Bhave launched his startup ‘Thaely’ in July 2021.

The company recycled materials from more than 50,000 plastic bags and 35,000 plastic bottles. Bhave came up with the idea for this business in 2017 while studying for a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

The brand name “Thaely” literally translates to plastic carrier bags in Hindi.

This idea for plastic and rubber shoes was pitched by Ashay Bhave at Amity University, Dubai’s ‘Eureka’ start-up competition in 2019. His victory there encouraged him and it only took two years for the development of the fabric using plastic before being able to manufacture a prototype.

After months of perfecting the recycling process, Ashay finally made the decision to set up its manufacturing plant in New Delhi where it contracted with a local waste management plant to supply it with raw materials.

Ashay’s start-up buys raw materials from waste management companies. Plastic bags are made into fabric using heat and pressure, called ThaelyTex.

To make a pair of shoes, 12 plastic bottles and 10 plastic bags are used. They come in four variants, priced at $99 or Rs 7,000.

To date, Ashay’s company has recycled approximately 50,000 plastic bags and 35,000 plastic bottles.

In November 2021, impressed by Ashay’s efforts, Anand Mahindra said to “count him” for the fundraiser in a tweet.

Bryce K. Locke