This is one of those things you probably would never think about unless you visit building sites, and even then, might not think about it.
When walking from the mucky building site into the staff facilities, most building sites ask people to put blue plastic “booties” over their boots to stop the worst of the muck being walked into the canteens and toilets.
Obviously, when going out onto the site, the booties are removed for someone else to use. However, they’re fragile and tend to wear out quite fast.
A consortium of three companies working on HS2, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick — Align — worked out that they were getting through over 100,000 pairs of disposable blue booties every month.
They looked around and found that Crawley-based OnSite Support has developed an alternative bootie that’s partially made from recycled plastic bottles. The product is also fully washable and has an anti-slip sole to offer a better grip on slippery surfaces.
The new shoes, which have been developed in three different sizes to meet the needs of male and female workers, are now in use across Align’s HS2 construction sites.
Carl Baker, Waste Manager for the Align joint venture said “Early trials show that the shoes not only provide better grip, but they can be washed too. This means they can last for over six weeks, which really helps to reduce single-use plastic waste. From concept to delivery, this simple idea has proven to be a great success.”
Having spent many times hopping on one foot trying to get those horrid blue booties over a big muddy boot, I’d say the loop on the back could be the biggest useability improvement.