Shoe Recycling: Fashion for Good Launches New Pilot with Brand Partners

Netherland-based organization Fashion for Good launches a new pilot with brand partners adidas, Inditex, Target and Zalando, and footwear recycling company FastFeetGrinded. The aim is to test and validate an “innovative footwear recycling process to support the uptake of recycled content in footwear, driving the change towards a more circular footwear industry”.

According to Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion for Good, this project would be a first in the footwear industry “to allow us to understand the sustainable recycling technologies and infrastructures needed to accelerate the transition towards a circular future. By fostering collaborative partnerships like this, where companies come together to share knowledge and validate innovation, we pave the way for scalable solutions.”

Globally, 24 billion shoes are added to the market each year, and a staggering 90 percent of shoes were either landfilled or incinerated, the organization referred to World Footwear Yearbook (2020) and Vivobarefoot. “To tackle this challenge, Fashion for Good has launched a new pilot with partners adidas, Inditex, Target and Zalando, in collaboration with innovator FastFeetGrinded, aiming to test and validate the footwear recycling process and support the uptake of recycled materials in footwear.” The partners would divert pre- and post-consumer footwear to the recycling company that is part of the Dutch Heilig Group; the firms of this group offer international technical solutions to many industrial markets.

As reported, FastFeetGrinded can deconstruct any type of pre- and post-consumer shoe, breaking it down into its macro-components. These materials are then subsequently grinded down into smaller high-purity granulates, which the company utilizes to create material streams for repurposed use. “The next step involves FastFeetGrinded’s extensive network of supply chain partners, who will produce output products, such as outsoles, midsoles, and flip flops.” The brands would closely evaluate the products’ quality and purity, aiming to showcase the potential of the applied footwear recycling technology and pave the way for scalable solutions.

With the demand for raw materials expected to triple by 2050, urgent action is needed to reduce the dependence on virgin resources, Fashion for Good underlined. “FastFeetGrinded, as a key recycling innovator, plays a crucial role in providing the industry with secondary raw materials, catering to the rising market demand and regulatory requirements for recycled content.” To meet demand, FastFeetGrinded would operate in a 4,000 square meter facility and are already planning a global expansion.,

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 3/2023, Page 25, Photo: FastFeetGrinded/Fashion for Good)