Sustainable Sneakers and Runners Are Trending – But What About Shoe Recycling?


Whereas the plastic free motion is gaining momentum and this yr’s Plastic Free July marketing campaign aiming to curb the consumption of single-use plastics by one billion kilos this year, within the footwear business, there’s no signal of plastic use slowing down. Greater than 23 billion new pairs of sneakers are made yearly, most of that are constituted of virgin plastic, rubber and petroleum.

A number of sportswear giants are in search of higher methods to do shoe enterprise. In 2015, Adidas teamed up with environmental organisation Parley to create a spread of merchandise that characteristic Parley Ocean Plastic™, an revolutionary materials made from recycled fibres sourced from upcycled marine plastic particles and fishing nets. The Adidas UltraBOOST vary of high-performance sports activities runners, for instance, is made from 95 % Parley Ocean Plastic™ Primeknit higher, upcycling roughly 11 plastic bottles.

Final yr, New Balance partnered with cult eco-fashion label Reformation, to develop a spread of trendy sneakers that featured inserts constituted of BLOOM algae and EVA foam; lowering the normal quantity of fossil fuels used for manufacturing.

Associated Submit: 7 of the Best Eco-Friendly Running Shoes of 2019

Not too long ago, Reebok have redesigned its most iconic shoe types to be extra sustainable by incorporating recycled plastic. The REEcycled assortment showcases seven of its hottest designs, however reconstructed in order that the uppers are made with at the very least 50% recycled supplies and every attire piece is constructed with 40% recycled supplies. The brand new assortment displays hours of analysis and testing with a view to reproduce the high-performance and high quality sports activities footwear that Reebok is thought for – with much less environmental influence.

Reebok REEcycled Nano assortment coach. Picture equipped.

“All plastics ought to get to stay multiple life. To be morphed and repurposed. To grow to be one thing sudden. We’re dedicated to switching up the sport and turning plastics into shirts, footwear, and extra,” stated Reebok’s inventive director in a press launch.

Whereas sportswear producers more and more incorporate sustainable supplies into shoe collections, the issues of sturdiness and materials end-of-life stay.

In her groundbreaking guide Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing to The World, creator Tansy Hoskins shares stunning truths in regards to the footwear business. “Most footwear as of late should not constructed to final,” explains Hoskins in a latest Eco Warrior Princess interview. “So even if you happen to wished to maintain them for a very long time, that wouldn’t be an choice. After 4, six months, they begin falling to items.”

The business desperately wants revolutionary options to its rising waste downside. With roughly 300 million pairs of sneakers thrown out yearly, and few shoe recycling choices accessible to clients, shoe producers might want to redesign for longevity and provide end-of-life options if they’re actually severe about sustainability.


In response to the Australian Sporting Items Affiliation, over 25 million pairs of sports activities footwear are imported into Australia, with just one % estimated to be recycled. Its new footwear recycling initiative Save Our Soles – in partnership with main sporting manufacturers together with New Steadiness, Converse, Globe, Insurgent, Adidas and ASICS – goals to shut the loop within the Australian sports activities shoe provide chain. After launching its Victorian pilot program this yr, the cohort have up to now collected 51,386 pairs of footwear throughout 100 places, diverting 17 tonnes of waste from Australian landfills. The purpose is to transform the worn out footwear into a spread of helpful recycled merchandise.

One other Australian primarily based non-for-profit organisation, Shoes For Planet Earth collects used sports activities footwear and sneakers to supply to underprivileged communities throughout Australia and New Zealand and in creating international locations throughout Asia and Africa.

Nike is without doubt one of the few sports activities attire firms providing a sneaker recycling program. Its Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program has been accumulating any athletic model of sports activities footwear and sneakers from customers since 1993. Up to now, the corporate has collected 32 million pairs of footwear which it has reworked into beneficial materials that’s used to construct basketball courts, sports activities tracks and, you guessed it, footwear.

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Cowl picture by way of Reformation.

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