In a world where one individual can own up to fifty pairs of shoes, the footwear industry has begun to see the need to adopt eco-friendly practices. Shoe manufacturers are improving their production methods to reduce the size of the carbon footprint they leave behind. However, recognizing that green assembly is not enough, the industry has incorporated recycled and biodegradable materials into their production of eco-friendly footwear.
Eco-Friendly Shoe Manufacturing
In the late 19th century when factories sprung up in the United States, domestic footwear manufacturing boomed. Due to inexpensive overseas production practices in recent years, shoe manufacturers have largely vacated the U.S. However, the creation of green footwear is bringing some of that business back home.
Less Energy, More Profit
Shoe manufacturers can actually save money by going green! The following production practices are becoming more and more popular in manufacturing because of their ability to cut costs:
– Wind energy
– Solar energy
– Waste-to-energy conversion
– Energy conserving machinery
Environmentally Friendly Materials
The use of green textiles and post-consumer materials within eco-friendly footwear manufacturing has already made a significant impact on reducing the negative effects of the industry on the Earth. Around since the late 1800’s, St. Louis based Daniel Green Company is one American shoemaker keeping pace with the green times. Their women’s Callie and Kenzie slippers are made from 100% recycled wool, more eco-friendly styles are expected soon, energy use and material waste have been reduced in their manufacturing processes.
– Recycled Wool
– Recycled Polyester
– Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
– Organic Cotton
Making a shoe entirely out of recycled materials is nothing new. In 2008, Nike released its Trash Talk, the brand’s first-ever basketball sneaker made entirely from manufacturing waste.
Because the average textile mill consumes about 35 million kilowatts of electricity per hour, it is easy to see the benefit of reusing the materials that were initially produced. Some green footwear manufacturers have bypassed textiles entirely, using plastic bottles or old tires as main components in producing their footwear.
Other Eco-Friendly Practices in the Footwear Industry: Streamlining Processes, Green Packaging, and Overstock Donations
Functioning as a successful shoe company can take a toll on the environment simply, but today manufacturers have choices and economic success does not have to come at the expense of the planet.
Eco-friendly footwear companies are applying the green initiative to all aspects of their business by implementing sustainable corporate policies and green packaging methods. Boxes are being made out of recycled materials and catalogs are being printed on post-consumer paper with soy ink. More and more companies are choosing to eliminate waste by donating overstock and outdated shoes to organizations round the world.