One of the thorniest problems linked to sustainability is that of the end of products’ lives and their disposal; of how to put them back on the market in a virtuous cycle that limits waste. Scarpa, the Asolo-based company, is the leader of an international consortium to develop a project funded by the European Union to give new life to used footwear. The ‘Re-Shoes’ project, which benefits from funding under the LIFE programme of the European Union – will develop over 42 months and involves the production and marketing of a new shoe model for the brand, created through the collection, selection, and recycling of shoes that have reached the end of their life. All through a procedure that allows the company to obtain raw materials from used footwear and production waste, to create a new generation of high-quality recycled products, thus reducing the disposal and use of virgin raw materials and aiming to eliminate post-processing waste.

LIFE RE-SHOES – kick off day partner

“Every year over 24 billion new shoes are produced in the world, most of which end up in landfills at the end of their life cycle, representing a major problem for the environment” – the President of Scarpa Sandro Parisotto reminds us – “Shoes, in fact, are complex to recycle, because they are composed of a mixture of different materials that are very difficult to separate. With this ambitious project we are making a commitment to make a contribution to reversing the trend”.

In essence, it is a circular economy initiative to promote a new sustainable business model, a practice that should involve all fashion chains in the future. In a first phase, the project involves Scarpa’s distribution network in some areas of Italy, Germany, and Austria, to collect from consumers 15 thousand pairs of the Mojito shoe model, a flagship product in the urban outdoor segment. Subsequently, the shoes collected will enter a virtuous recycling system and will lead to the creation of as many pairs of new shoes, with a range of recycled materials being used in the new model – between 50% and 70%. Thanks to this process, a reduction of 52.4% of greenhouse gases, of 50% of chemicals, of 65% of water consumption, of 54.5% of energy is aimed at compared to standard processes. Supporting Scarpa in the various stages of development of the ‘Re-Shoes’ project are their partners: Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (design for recycling and production, materials and footwear testing, environmental impact analysis and Life Cycle Assessment); Sciarada Industria Conciaria (separation of materials and hydrolysis of the leather, Evolo process for the production of regenerated leather); Rubber Conversion (devulcanization of industrial rubber waste for the regeneration of new rubber); (production of rubber sheets from secondary raw materials, separation of textile components and soles and conversion into components for new soles); Innovando (logistics for the used shoe collection campaign); and EPSI – European Platform For Sports And Innovation (Networking and promotion).