Old Shoes Find New Life in Children's Playgrounds

An estimated 2.6 million new shoes are sold in Europe annually and, each year, 1.5 million tons of old shoes plus 90 000 tons of by-products from shoe manufacturers end up being deposited in landfill sites or incineration, both of which are potentially harmful to the environment. This innovative project used a special shoe grinding process to recycle old shoes, incorporating them into a wide variety of new products.

Children's playgrounds could soon be made of recycled old shoes. Naturalista has come up with a novel way of recycling shoes and other footwear that otherwise might end up in rubbish skips or landfill sites each year.

Transforming footwear waste
The Spanish-based, six-member consortium proposed to take old shoes, remove any metal objects, cut them into pieces and then grind them into a pulp-like substance.

Potential uses for the resulting material range from making soles and insoles for new footwear to road safety articles and even the flooring on children's playgrounds.

Whatever the end result, each product is 100 % recycled shoe and will carry the EU eco-label. Such waste generated by footwear manufacturing activities is a valuable raw material that can, as this demonstrates, be recycled.

Ecological footwear
One of the aims of the project was to recycle up to 15 000 pairs of shoes over a two-year period using a method which eliminates the need for footwear, a non biodegradable product, to be landfilled.

The project as a whole has significantly reduced CO2 emissions by avoiding dumping of used shoes to landfill.

The project has been funded through the CIP Eco-Innovation programme which ran until 2013. New funding opportunities are available under Horizon 2020's SME Instrument.

Source: Envirocentre.ie - Old Shoes Find New Life in Children's Playgrounds

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