- Salomon makes millions of shoes every year. It’s trying to develop a way to make those shoes more sustainable.
- The company’s new concept shoe is made entirely out of one material, TPU.
- It can be ground down and combined with new TPU to form a brand new ski boot shell.
- Salomon isn’t the only company developing a sustainable sneaker. Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop shoe is also made from TPU.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: This is what it looks like when a shoe gets recycled. Turning this into that. But this doesn’t usually happen. Shoes and clothing have a limited life cycle by design, which usually means they end up in landfills. In 2017, the US produced over 12 million tons of clothing and footwear waste. Only about 13.5% of that was recycled.
Products with short life spans harm the environment during manufacturing and produce tons of waste. But we’re starting to see a global push to develop more sustainable manufacturing. One company trying to develop new innovations to fix this old problem is Salomon.
It makes millions of shoes every year. Normally, shoes are made of many different materials, like rubber, leather, and plastic, which makes them difficult to recycle. Salomon has developed a process that it hopes will help solve this problem: turning a used shoe into a new ski-boot shell. The key to Salomon’s new shoe is that it’s made entirely out of one material: TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane. TPU is a type of plastic that is light but durable. And it can be reshaped when heated, which means it’s well suited for manufacturing.
But how does a shoe turn into a ski boot? Here’s how it works. First, Salomon creates a running shoe made entirely out of TPU. It says this new shoe won’t compromise quality or durability. Instead of throwing it away, customers return the shoes to Salomon, which will then clean the shoe and grind it down into small particles, like these. This used to be a shoe. Salomon then combines the recycled TPU with new TPU and creates a ski-boot shell.
It’s kind of like a sandcastle. A bunch of little particles that can be combined to form something new. Salomon says it will use 20% to 50% recycled TPU in each ski boot. Eventually, Salomon hopes to collect and recycle the ski-boot shell as well. But Salomon isn’t the only company creating sustainable footwear.
Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop is the company’s first 100% recyclable shoe. It also uses TPU. Adidas wants customers to return their used shoes so it can recycle them into a brand-new pair. Both companies expect these products to be available in 2021.
Of course, you don’t have to wait a year to start recycling your shoes. Donating lightly used shoes can benefit someone in need and reduce waste. And Salomon isn’t stopping with this one shoe. The company’s Play Minded Program is designed to do three things: protect the outdoors, create more sustainable products, and educate its customers on responsible ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Salomon wants 70% of its waste to be recycled or reused by 2025. And the company has pledged to stop using perfluorinated chemicals by 2023. PFCs are used in durable water repellent finishes, which are common in outdoor clothing. But they can be harmful to both humans and animals. All these changes bring us a little closer to a more sustainable future.