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Sustainable Car Parts

Using Nike Grinds to create a variety of car parts including tires and steering wheel covers

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We propose using Nike Grinds to create more sustainable car parts- tires, floor covers, seats,etc. It’s not possible at the time to eliminate the use of cars, but it is possible to make the production and manufacturing process of cars more sustainable. By reusing rubber from Nike grinds, we will make tires or floor mats. Synthetic leather could be used to make car seats or steering wheel coverings. 

Using Nike Grinds would help make the process more sustainable because it eliminates the need to harvest new rubber or leather. While rubber is harvested from plants and is not synthetically produced, recycled rubber is the more environmentally friendly option because it builds upon already existing materials. 

By recycling the leather and molding it into larger, usable pieces, we can save on the amount of animals that need to perish for us to harvest leather. In the same way that beef is unsustainable, leather is also. Cows especially require a lot of resources for them to grow and be useful for producing beef or leather. By recycling the leather scraps that remain, we can save a little bit on some of those resources. 

Isn’t there an even more environmentally friendly alternative to leather? PVC and PU leather eliminate the need to kill animals, but require fossil fuels. Synthetic “vegan leather” is progressing towards complete sustainability, with new innovations like vegetable based plastics. Ideally, more companies will make the switch in the future, but as long as there are Nike Grinds, we should reuse the scraps that we are creating to ensure that none of the resources we use go to waste.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

UMD BMGT495 Students

Website (if applicable)


Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Full Grain Leather Scraps
  • Split Leather Scraps Coated
  • Synthetic Leather

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The rubber materials will be used to create tires while textiles can be used to make steering wheel covers.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our product will be sold to car manufacturers, which in turn will sell cars to everyday consumers. We think it would be most effective to partner with a car manufacturer on a car that is fuel efficient, but also manufactured sustainably using recycled Nike Grinds. The appeal to customers would be a very sustainable car, and a lower price- by reusing materials, manufacturers can cut down on the cost of harvesting leather and rubber and the chemical processes to make them into durable materials.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Nike could partner will car manufacturers to help them create sustainable car parts in order to lower costs and reduce waste.

How is your idea innovative?

Our idea is innovative because we are not creating excess. Using Nike Grinds to create bags or boxes is making use of the wasted scraps, but inevitable, those will also end up in the trash, as people only need so many bags or boxes to carry their lunches or books to work and school. Our product is taking something that people already need and use, and making it more environmentally friendly and reducing the waste that would occur if certain parts were manufactured from new raw materials only.

What inspired this idea?

When we were thinking of processes that are wasteful or unsustainable each day, we noted that the manufacturing of cars is unsustainable. Cars are becoming more sustainable, but people will always continue to purchase and drive cars.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Our team is composed of five college students studying business at the University of Maryland. We are taking a strategic management course but have no background in start-ups.

In what city are you located?

College Park

In what country are you located?


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a Top Idea would provide our group with the necessary funds to continue developing and prototyping our product as it is in the early stages of development.


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