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.
“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); Rubbermac.it (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).