is estimated that 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually worldwide and around 350 million pairs ending up in landfills after they have been worn. However, WHO has reported that 1.5 billion people in the world currently do not have footwear and millions of them suffer from diseases contracted because of unprotected feet each year.
“Repair It-Don’t Replace It”
Millennial do not believe in repairing/ refurbishing things. In today’s fast paced lives, replacing is a more convenient and time efficient alternative for them. But in order to maintain a safe living environment with a high quality of life for our current and future generations, the approach to sustainable consumption and production is a must. We should start with simple things like reducing the shoe waste that we produce. By reducing the waste of discarded shoes, we also avoid depleting the earth’s resources through wasteful habits. This can help us keep our planet clean, conserve precious resources, and reduce the need for space-consuming landfills.
Some of the most effective ways how we can improve sustainability and reduce shoe waste are–
1) By buying longer lasting shoes, and keeping them functional beyond their typical lifespan with the help of repairs and refurbishments.
2) By making the effort to replace the soles of worn out shoes or creating new designs through patchwork or stitches when the uppers get damaged.
3) By investing in good-quality shoes as they are easier to be fixed again and again for years of wear.
4) By recycling or donating used shoes so that they do not end up in the landfills
“IF SHOES ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO WEAR
THEY’RE GOOD ENOUGH TO REPAIR”
Initiatives to Reduce Shoe Waste around the World
With increasing awareness about the waste generated in the shoe building process as well as the waste created after the shoes are worn, many footwear brands around the world have pledged to reduce the waste in order to protect the environment. Many programs have been set up to help reduce the impacts of the disposal of shoes on the environment.
- A multinational shoe brand takes back old used shoes from customers and recycles and grinds them into athletic equipment for tennis courts, tracks etc.
- An eco-friendly enterprise in India reuses shoe soles and provides footwears to approximately 1 lakh people in need across the villages of India.
- In Brazil, multinational corporations have been running shoe-recycling programs allowing customers to bring shoes of any brand into a store to shred into making alternative fuels and raw materials.
- Many footwear companies are also educating customers by playing videos in their store that talk about the need for repair and refurbishment.
- A famous shoe brand in Bali re-purposes discarded tires into soles for sandals and shoes, to make an effort in preventing the waste tires from polluting the environment, landfills or incinerators.
To contribute to social good, organizations are creating a self-sustaining infrastructure that facilitates refurbishing discarded shoes with zero carbon footprints. They are also doing economic good by creating employment for the refurbishing of shoes.
Let’s Save the World “Together”