Stepping Up Recycling, A New Way to Get More Out of Old Shoes

When you think of recycled shoes, you probably think of hand-me-downs as a child or wonderful programs like The Shoe Bank, but now there is a way to actually recycle materials from your shoes!

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According to a recent press release, Loughborough University’s Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC) has developed a system to recover useful materials from old shoes.  This is significant considering 95 percent of shoes produced every year end up in landfills.

The system granulates and separates foams, rubbers, and leathers from old shoes. These fragments, which are three to four millimeters in size, are then separated through the system by weight.

Once the materials are separated into their respective material, they are then ready to be recycled. The recovered rubber can be used in running tracks or playground surfacing.  Some rubber can even be incorporated back into new shoes, depending on the design!  Recovered foams can even be used to create underlay material for flooring and carpeting. With further development and use of this recycling system, more options for the material will surely present itself over time.

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The IMCRC is looking to proceed with the project by encouraging the shoe industry to adopt the system. They are also looking to collaborate with footwear manufactures to redesign shoes to increase the amount of shoe that can eventually be recycled.

Just imagine how many shoes can be removed from landfills if this system is adopted industry-wide!

Watch how the system works in the video below:

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