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Fashion for Good launches new footwear recycling pilot

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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FastFeetGrinded recycling processing Credits: FastFeetGrinded

Sustainability innovation platform Fashion for Good is teaming up with founding partners Adidas, Inditex, Target and Zalando to test and validate footwear recycling processes to support the uptake of recycled content in footwear, towards a more circular footwear industry.

The new pilot programme will be with FastFeetGrinded and will see Fashion for Good’s partners diverting its pre- and post-consumer footwear to the footwear recycling innovator, who will transform them into various new material granulates. These macro-components will then be subsequently ground down into smaller high-purity granulates which FastFeetGrinded may use to create material streams for repurposed use.

FastFeetGrinded will then work with its network of supply chain partners to produce output products, such as outsoles, midsoles, and flip-flops. While the brands involved in the pilot will closely evaluate the products’ quality and purity, evaluating the potential of FastFeetGrinded's footwear recycling technology, which Fashion For Good hopes will pave the way for scalable solutions.

Katrin Ley, managing director of Fashion for Good, said in a statement: “This project will be a first in the footwear industry to allow us to understand the sustainable recycling technologies and infrastructures needed to accelerate the transition towards a circular future.

“By fostering collaborative partnerships like this, where companies come together to share knowledge and validate innovation, we pave the way for scalable solutions.”

The pilot aims to address the fact that 24 billion shoes are added to the market each year, according to the World Footwear Yearbook (2020), and a staggering 90 percent of shoes are either landfilled or incinerated, revealed in a report by sustainable footwear brand Vivobarefoot.

In addition, the Valuing our Clothes report from WRAP in 2019 added that demand for raw materials is expected to triple by 2050, and urgent action is needed to reduce the dependence on virgin resources.

Fashion For Good