Why is it so complicated to recycle shoes?

Why is it so complicated to recycle shoes?
Mode éthique

You certainly know, a little over a year ago, we launched Encore, our collection and recycling program for used shoes. Next September, this initiative will finally take shape: your recycled shoes will be reused as raw material in our future fall-winter 2020 collection. From the birth of the project, we explain why this next collection is a Small feat, which we are proud to share with you.

Embark on a recycling program: obvious to clean up the market

You've probably already read it, the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Our role as a business is to find lasting solutions to reduce our impact on the environment.

Today in France, we consume an average of 5.8 pairs of shoes per person and per year*. We are the biggest buyers in Europe. If our role, as a brand, is to regularly offer you new features, it must also be to manage the end of life of your products!

It is from this observation that was born again: to raise awareness of our customers and encourage them to bring us back a used pair every time they buy a new pair. It must become an automation. The goal with these old shoes harvested is to make new shoes.

And 18 months after the first harvests, we finally succeeded.

We transform the shoes collected in order to inject them into the soles of your future shoes! Thus, beyond managing the end of life of the products, we reduce our needs in raw materials and finally enter the virtuous circle of a circular industry.

*Source: National Trade Sources and Research Specialists, Euromonitor, Mint, 2010

Why is recycling a challenge?

We started to look at the problem of the end of life of our products almost two years ago, and we quickly realized that recycling shoes, it was not an easy task.

First of all because a shoe is a complex object that can contain dozens of different materials. They are sometimes impossible to separate, which complicates the recycling process.

In addition, the shoes we collect in our stalls are not all M. Mustache, since we all accept shoes. And all these pairs are not designed in the same place, and therefore do not meet the same health standards. However, a shoe designed outside Europe cannot be reintroduced in the production of European shoes, because it simply does not respect the norm Reach.

Change consumption methods to change the market, durably

We looked for solutions to all these issues everywhere, and we ended up finding it, in Portugal, at one of our partners. He has been working for more than ten years on a revolutionary process, which he has just developed, and which allows us for the first time recycling your former shoes to reintegrate them into our production. A closed circuit recycling, unprecedented in the shoe industry. Thanks to this innovation, and thanks to you, in September 2020 we will be able to offer our first collection produced from your old, recycled shoes.

This innovation allows us to achieve a first objective: to reduce our impact on the environment. But still will only be a success if we manage to develop mentalities, so that recycling your shoes becomes the norm. Change the consumption methods of our customers, to permanently change the shoe market, and rethink the economy in a circular way.

To encourage virtuous behavior, we offer maintenance products to customers who bring us their used shoes. Because even if we have learned to recycle them, our goal is that you can wear your shoes as long as possible!

Today our ambition is simple, it is that within 2 years, one in two customers reports its used shoes. We want this simple gesture to become an automation for our community.

Because if it is complicated to recycle shoes, put your old shoes in one of our echoppes, that's very simple. And we hope it will quickly become a habit.

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