I feel bad for running.
Not for the running itself. I feel bad for my use of running shoes.
I buy new ones at least every year.
In Great Britan alone, 300 millions of running shoes are thrown away, every year.
A running shoe, and a lot of sneakers in general is mostly made out of plastic materials, and as we all should know by know, all plastic ever produced still exists on this planet. That is both the good and the bad thing about plastic, to be produced for long term use, with the possibility to recycle it, forever.
When my running shoes is no good for running anymore I use them for walking in the forest, at the beach and so on. After this, they become my gardening shoes :)
But then what? When I have worn them out…I give them to the the norwegian charity shop Fretex . But what happens when Fretex receives my running shoes?
Through their webpage I find that they have this program that the stuff that is not sold or used for redesign in Norway is sold to other countries for resale. Fretex has a committing program to make sure that nothing is thrown away, that what is not sold is to be recycled into something useful. I keep thinking about the running shoes, where do they end up in their afterlife ? I found out that some are made into to create sports surfaces and more. That is also one of the way , Nike takes donated, worn out shoes and grinds them down into a new material called Nike Grind, which is used to create sports surfaces for athletes such as courts, tracks, turf fields and more.
I called Fretex, met a nice lady that told me she was very happy about the system they have for reusing and recycling of textile. Unfortunately she told me that they don´t have a similar system for shoes, the shoes they find to be worm out for resale they have to get rid of as regular garbage.
In my research I found some programs that send worn out running shoes to countries of poorer status in terms of materiale goods like shoes. Like this one from https://soles4souls.org. Just found out that a local shop where I live use that organisation, good to know!
But what happens after that? When the shoes are all worn out. Will they end like regular garbage, and no program for real recycling.
Unfortunately most of the thrown away running shoes never hits a program like that, it ends in the garbage, into the landfills, eventually turning into micro plastic, in the soil, in the air, and into the ocean. Ok, enough with the challenge, I think you get my point.
What to do?
More must be done in the production part for start, happy that more and more brands are taking responsibility here. One of them is Adidas with their Parly collection that is made of treads from plastic trash in the ocean. Some good read about the function of running shoes made like this. Their goal is to make all their products like this by 2020.
The category; sneakers for, athleisure, streetwear and so on has more and more to offer in the sustainable category, like the cool Veja (and the really uncool in every aspect of it that Primark has makde a copy of them….more on ecoage about it )
All birds is another good example, making shoes in wool and trademarked Tencel. In Norway we have this nice brand New Movement who says this on their webpage: “In New Movements, we are aware of this massive problem that our planet is suffering. That is the reason why we collaborate with the plastic waste movement Empower. For every pair of shoes you pre-order, we clean 1 kilogram of ocean plastic around the world. Together we help local communities, providing jobs for people in need and save the environment.”
Since I started writing this post, Adidas has launched a some great news, one material functional running shoe, and no glue used! Futurecraft, if you buy this shoe and then return it when you are done with it, you know they can recycle the whole shoes back to raw material. I find this to be the future. Futurecraft are on my wishlist for new running shoes! You can read more here
Have a great week