Every production process throughout every industry generates waste in the end. It has become clear that the environmental issue is in every industry. But especially in the shoes and bags industry, it is a primary complex and multidimensional problem that necessitates careful consideration of not only the environment, but also laborers, and left behind materials of the manufacturing process.
However, the footwear industry’s sustainability is growing, and efforts are being made to reduce waste and monitor it more efficiently. This is accomplished by altering the structure of the practices as well as the industry’s overall business model. Sustainable footwear is unquestionably a growing trend in the fashion market. Customers are considering making environmental efforts via all attributes of fashion, right down to their feet. Making the most of all available resources is the definition of sustainability. Consumers are becoming more conscious and thoughtful when shopping. As a result, many brands have stepped forward to take the lead in this area. Among these, many footwear brands are doing an excellent job of recycling old shoes and reusing discarded items in the production of footwear. The basics of sustainable shoes begin with the use of sustainable materials.
One of the most difficult challenges for the shoe industry is implementing the sustainable concept in the entire shoe development, from raw material to some of the most efficient machines and equipment, techniques, and methods. Even though shoemaking frequently involves the assembly of above 40 elements, shifting from one material to others will not result in true sustainability. Moreover, since there are so many established competitors in the field, sustainable shoe manufacturers have a difficult time breaking into it.
Sustainable footwear is unquestionably a growing trend in the fashion market. Customers are considering making environmental efforts via all attributes of fashion. The basics of sustainable shoes begin with the use of sustainable materials. Manufacturers are becoming more open to adopting greener principles and committing to sustainability initiatives. To create a greener, more truthful supply network and encourage a close supply chain, it is important to determine trustworthy partners. Collaborating with a sustainable business partner is the first step toward creating a more sustainable and environment distribution network and continuing to drive product sustainability from the start.
Adidas is actively developing footwear made entirely of recycled material. Furthermore, the brand has officially committed to using only eco-friendly materials in the manufacturing process by 2024. Giesswein footwear is made entirely of Merino wool from small, individual farm fields where animal rights are a top priority. It has also implemented a zero-waste policy, which requires that all leftover wool scraps from the production process be recycled and integrated into some other products. Reformation uses organic materials instead of plastic inside their heels and liquid glues instead of the harmful glues that most producers rely on for footwear arrangement.
Since more information on environmental issues is accessible, the industry’s focus on sustainability has developed at a quick speed, prompting the public to start paying more attention to the sustainability of the items they purchase. It then puts mounting scrutiny on the brand’s eco-friendly products with increased transparency regarding original material growth, supply chain, and manufacturing. The footwear sector’s giants are now transforming their business strategies to be more shaped, using wastages to develop new footwear or trying to incorporate wastages into the production of other goods. Let us dive a little deep into this.
Several organizations, including Nike and Adidas, have begun taking action toward sustainable practices. They’re producing new shoes out of old ones and researching ways to reuse the disposal. According to a report, Nike’s 71 percent of footwear is now made from disposal products from various manufacturing methods. Waste materials from the company’s processing plants or ground-up items of old, thrown away shoes could be among the waste.
Footwear manufacturers are now reusing leftovers and old shoes by dividing them into 3 stages. The rubber from the outsole is separated, as is the foam from the soles and the fiber from the top sole. They are then ground into fabric particles, which can then be used to make new pairs of sneakers or other items. Aside from using certain materials in their designs, they sell the recyclable materials waste to outside buyers, who can then use it according to their preferences and needs. So everything that we often throw away is put to use. Simply put, this makes a significant contribution to waste material.
Economic Advancement has aided in the creation of programs for employment. This does not necessitate the use of skilled workers. A simple practice session will be ideal for learning and understanding the process. This initiative has created numerous job opportunities while also promoting economic growth.
Due to the sheer incredible efficiency and sustainability, many large brands are recognizing the need to get involved. Many footwear companies have seen great success by embracing sustainability. We can see the significant impact it is having on the environment gradually but continuously. They’ve been attempting to reduce overall water consumption with a waterless dye procedure. This has assisted businesses in saving millions of gallons of water. Companies have quit purchasing carbon offsets and instead work to reduce their emissions. Their vision is to achieve a ‘closed-loop,’ eliminating all waste material from manufacturing processes. Many brands are now accomplishing this and removing waste products from the footwear manufacturing process from landfills. Several leading footwear companies have recognized the need and are continuously working on making the best use of waste materials. Furthermore, since most materials used in sustainable footwear are plant-based, this has also resulted in a reduction in animal exploitation.
Furthermore, the manufacturing cost is minimal. The raw materials are not cost-effective, and the procedure is not complicated. The manufacturers use semi-skilled labor, which raises the costs. As for the demand part, the consumption of sustainable footwear increases over time, and brands see this as a competitive advantage. Trying to work on rising products is always beneficial to the company because it increases revenue while also establishing a good name.
Throwing away textiles is a terrible waste because they can be used again or repurposed very efficiently. Every individual throws away an average of seven pounds of clothing and shoes each year, with nearly 85 percent of this waste ending up in landfills, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total landfill space. Many items in someone’s wardrobe that are no longer needed can be repurposed and reused. It may take some effort, but one will contribute to the conservation of a substantial amount of different energy resources that otherwise would have ended up spent on producing it all from scratch.
Consumer awareness is driving advancements in sustainable products, laying the groundwork for more attainable sustainable action and broader public participation, similar to what’s been accomplished in the recycling space. Footwear companies are now striving to revolutionize their design, manufacturing processes, and materials. Substituting non-renewable resources with environmentally friendly materials is a significant step toward minimizing the environmental footprint of the footwear and fashion industries in general.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.