Fertilizing your garden with old shoes? PUMA is making it happen

A second life for your sport shoes, not as something to wear or use, but as a fertilizer for your garden. It can potentially help to diminish billions of kilo’s of waste. In The Netherlands, waste processing company Ortessa is doing tests to make more materials compostable.

On average we throw away approximately 500 kilo’s of rubbish a year. A part is being recycled, maar a larger part has to be burnt or dumped. Textile, like clothes and shoes usually go in the incinerator. Also a lot of products that are being sold als ‘biodegradable’, do not biodegrade fast enough and end up in the incinerator.

The Dutch television made a reportage of the process of waste processing at Ortessa, where they are currently experimenting with footwear company PUMA on making a circular sneaker. The leather of the sneakers are made with Zeology leather.

Compostability testing of PUMA-shoes towards circular economy

The video shows, among others, how the process of testing the compostability and biodegradabilty of PUMA’s RE:SUEDE sneakers, an experiment in manufacturing circular footwear. The video is in Dutch and partially in English.

In the first segment it is shown how the sneakers are being wrapped in separate bags, so it is easy to check how the composting is developing.

Throwing your sport shoes in the organic waste now, is not a good idea. But, if the experiments are successful, it could be the beginning of a separate waste stream in which product are being processed that need a longer time to compost.

At the moment, the EU prescribes that a product can be called compostable if it, after 3 months, has fallen apart for 90 percent. The problem is that the composting time at waste processors is never that long. In The Netherlands for example, the composting process only takes 2 to 3 weeks.

“We are trying to find a solution for something that the whole industry is struggling with: what do we do with the shoes at the end of their product life cycle?” – Stefan Seidel, PUMA

Read more about the collaboration between PUMA and Zeology

PUMA develops biodegradable RE:SUEDE sneaker with Zeology