Why recycling shoes is no easy task
As you may already know, just over a year ago, we launched Encore, our recycling program. Next September, this initiative will finally take shape: your recycled shoes will be reused as a raw material in our future Fall-Winter 2020 collection. From the beginning of Encore until the execution of the project, we explain why this next collection is a modest accomplishment, which we are very proud to share with you.
Getting started in a recycling program: an obvious step towards a cleaner industry
As you have probably already read, the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Our role as a shoe company is to find sustainable solutions to reduce our impact on the environment.
Today in France, an average of 5.8 pairs of shoes are consumed per person per year*. We are the biggest buyers in Europe. If our role, as a brand, is to regularly offer new designs, it must also be to manage the end of life of the products!
It is from this observation that Encore was born, educate our customers on the urgency of recycling and encourage them to bring us their worn-out shoes each time they buy a new pair. It must become automatic. The goal with these old “harvested” shoes is to make new ones.
18 months after the first harvests, we finally got there!
We transformed 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 for raw materials and finally enter the virtuous circle of a circular industry.
*source : National Trade Sources and Research specialists, Euromonitor, Mintel, 2010
Why is recycling a challenge?
We started looking into the matter of the end of life of our products almost two years ago, and we quickly realized that recycling shoes was no easy task.
First of all, because a shoe is a complex object which 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 shops are not all M. Moustache, since we accept all brands of shoes. All these pairs are not designed in the same place, and therefore do not meet the same sanitary standards. However, a shoe designed outside Europe cannot be reintroduced into the production of European shoes, because it simply does not comply with the REACH standards.
Changing consumption patterns to change the market, sustainably.
We looked for solutions to all these problems everywhere, and we ended up finding it, in Portugal, with one of our partners. He has been working for over ten years on a revolutionary process, which only he has developed, and which allows us for the first time to recycle your old shoes to reintegrate them into our production. A closed-loop 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 reach a first objective: reduce our impact on the environment. But Encore will only be a success if we can change mentalities so that recycling our shoes becomes the norm. Change the consumption patterns of our customers, to change the footwear market on a lasting basis, and rethink the economy in a circular manner.
To encourage virtuous behavior, we offer shoe care products to customers who bring us their old shoes. Because even though we have learned to recycle them, our goal is that you wear your shoes as long as possible!
Today our ambition is simple, it is that within 2 years, one in two customers will bring back their used shoes. We want this simple gesture to become automatic for our community.
Because although it is complicated to recycle shoes, dropping them in one of our shops, is very simple. And we hope it will quickly become a habit.