Want to reduce your eco-footprint in the literal sense? The footwear industry is no exception to this.
Waste is generated at the end of every manufacturing process in each and every industry. However, sustainability in footwear industry is increasing and steps are being taken to reduce the wastage and to manage it more efficiently. This is being done by changing the structure of the processes and overall business model of the industry. Initially, the processes were quite linear, which meant that materials were brought into the factory, footwear was made and shipped, and the waste was discarded. And then, more new material was brought in to make new footwear.
However, the footwear industry giants such as Nike are now making their business models more circular. This means that they are now using their waste to create new shoes or incorporate the waste into making other products such as a track court, a playground or another athletic padding surface. Let us learn more about it.
Turning Garbage into New Products
Companies like Nike have begun to take steps towards sustainability. They are making new shoes from older ones and are looking at techniques to reuse the generated waste. The athletic apparel and footwear giant has said that 71 percent of its footwear is now made using waste products from different manufacturing processes. The waste may include scraps from the company’s factories or ground-up pieces of old, discarded shoes. Impressively, in 2015 the brand recycled 92% of its trash.
The company reuses the scraps and old shoes by slicing them into three parts. The rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fiber from the upper sole are separated. They are then put through the grinder and transformed into fabric pellets that can be put into future use for making new pairs of shoes, or other products like an athletic padding surface, a track court, or even a playground. Apart from using the materials in their own creations, they are also selling the recycled waste to outside buyers who can then use it for making gym floors, lining the running tracks and carpet underlay.
The Environmental Impact
Needless to say, Nike has achieved great results by embracing sustainability. Slowly yet steadily, we can notice the positive impact it is making on the environment. Nike has been working on reducing overall water usage through a special waterless dye process. This has helped the company save more than 5 million gallons of water! In 2010, they pledged to stop buying carbon offsets and rather work towards reducing their own emissions. Their vision is to have a goal of a ‘closed loop’ and eliminate all waste products from the manufacturing processes. They want to achieve this by the fiscal year 2020 and completely eliminate footwear manufacturing waste from landfills or incineration.
Recycling Shoes and Clothing – Why and the Benefits
Discarding textiles is an absolute waste as they can be reused or repurposed quite efficiently. Every person discards an average amount of 70 pounds of clothes and shoes every year and almost 85% of this waste goes directly into the landfills, where it accounts for almost 5% of the landfill space. It is very easy to repurpose and reuse a lot of the stuff from your wardrobe that you no longer need. It might take some effort but you will help in saving a considerable amount of various energy resources that would otherwise have been spent on manufacturing everything from scratch. Apart from clothes and shoes, you can even recycle belts, purses, stuffed animals, backpacks, etc.
There are a number of benefits of recycling clothing and textiles. Some of them include:
- Reduces solid waste in landfills
- Promotes economic development
- Creates employment nationally and internationally
- Demonstrates sustainability and reduces carbon footprint
- Converts waste into value-added products
So the next time you outgrow your pair of shoes, do not chuck them out with your trash. Check how you can help in recycling them. For any recycling-related enquiries, feel free to get in touch with us at Compactor Management Company. We will be happy to help you out.
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as waste compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.