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home : readerswrite : yourstory April 29, 2016

Inventive recycler

by Patricia Gearin

Did you ever wonder what happens to single shoes without a mate or shoes that don't sell in resale stores? I wondered how they could be diverted from landfills, so I founded one of the first recycling companies for shoes.

I found markets at Goodwill for the shoes I could pair up, but I still had a lot left over. That's when I noticed that oil-stained leather shoes don't deteriorate.

I just knew, even when everyone else said it couldn't be done, that shoes could be ground up and used for something. Tests were positive. I could even let Mother Nature assist with weathering the shoes in the sun to make them stiffer and easier to grind.

What I invented from these shoes is an oil-absorbent material that is one of the safest and most effective spill-control products in the industry.


It's challenging to be an inventor, single mother and woman business owner. My dream was to integrate the best of environmental responsibility with sound business management practices. The business side of me is driven with excitement no one person could ever imagine.

The time is now to change the environment and change the economic future, all at the same time.

Patricia Gearin is the inventor of STEPS oil-absorbent products and founder of Wipers Recycling. She has a Patent Pending on field plus a mechanical full Patent. wipersrecycling.com

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