Wear, return, compost: our journey of the PUMA RE:SUEDE experiment

Sports company PUMA has started to distribute 500 pairs of its experimental RE:SUEDE sneaker to participants in Germany after recording strong interest for this compostability project. All the participants will wear the RE:SUEDE for half a year before returning their pairs to PUMA.

We are excited to share that one of the participants is our colleague Florian Schrey, Account Director Brands & OEM’s at Royal Smit & Zoon.

Nera has been part of the development of the RE:SUEDE by providing Zeology tanned leather. Now we can test it ourselves! We will follow Florian’s journey with his pair of RE:SUEDE sneakers and of course share it with you. Stay tuned.

Visit Ortessa

On June 23 2022 we visited waste processing company Ortessa. Ortessa is taking part in PUMA’s circular experiment and they will be testing the RE:SUEDE sneaker on their compostability. After the sneakers have been worn for six months, they will be shipped to Ortessa and there be subjected to a biological breakdown process. With the findings PUMA will continu and improve the development of sustainable footwear.

The shoes go back

It’s November 2022 and time to say goodbye to the RE:SUEDE’s. They go back to PUMA where they will be send to Ortessa for the compostability testing.

The results are in!

In November 2023, PUMA is sharing the results of the RE:SUEDE experiment.

A special procedure had to be established to turn the shoes into compost. First, they were shredded and mixed with other green household waste and placed into a composting tunnel. They were then sprayed with leaching-water from earlier composting that contains nutrients and naturally heated due to the biological activity and controlled air circulation in the tunnel. After approximately 3.5 months, the materials that were small enough (<10mm) to pass through a sieve were sold as Grade A compost for agricultural use (within the standards of the Netherlands), while the remaining materials were returned to the composting tunnel until they too had broken down to the desired level (<10mm). Ortessa Group adhered to all legal requirements for compost applicable at their facilities in the Netherlands during this process.

“While the RE:SUEDE could not be processed under the standard operating procedures for industrial composting, the shoes did eventually turn into compost,” said Anne-Laure Descours, Chief Sourcing Officer at PUMA. “We will continue to innovate with our partners to determine the infrastructure and technologies needed to make the process viable for a commercial version of the RE:SUEDE, including a takeback scheme, in 2024.”

Press release PUMA

About the collaboration

PUMA develops biodegradable RE:SUEDE sneaker with Zeology

PUMA has developed an experimental version of its most iconic sneaker to test for a product to make it biodegradable. The RE:SUEDE is made from Zeology tanned suede.

Made With Zeology

Have a look at more Zeology products

Go to collaborations

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