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As we learn more about the true state of recycling in America, it becomes clear that some things that are recyclable in theory are less so in reality. That’s why some companies are doing more research on ways to make their products more recyclable.
It has long been difficult to recycle items made of multiple materials, which means they traditionally ended up in the trash. One of these items is shoes, and a Wichita State Study last year claims that in America some 300 million pairs a year are thrown in the trash and take an average of 30 to 40 years to break down.
Nike, a leader in footwear innovation, has recently announced a new development that should make sneakers easier to recycle… and that starts with taking them apart.
The Nike Link and Link Axis shoes were developed under the company’s ISPA design philosophy. ISPA stands for Improvise, Scavenge, Protect and Adapt and Nike says it “challenges designers to experiment, break molds and reinvent products”. In this case, the concept of “dismantling” the shoe has been incorporated into the design of the Link.
Where form follows function, the ISPA team worked to create a shoe that emphasizes flexibility and durability while avoiding the types of bindings and adhesives that typically make shoes difficult to disassemble. and recycle. Instead, the Link can be separated into three separate parts, eliminating the need for power-intensive shredding processes or manual breakdown processes. Users should still drop off the parts at their local Nike store, but they can do so knowing that the shoes won’t require unnecessary and inefficient recycling later on.
Nike also says that eliminating traditional adhesives also consumes energy in the sneaker construction process by heating and cooling the bonds, which means they are also built more sustainably.
According to Darryl Matthews, vice president of Nike Catalyst Footwear Product Design, the company’s hope “is that these ideas and aesthetics will normalize, accelerating our ability to imagine how footwear will continue to evolve in the future.”
Image credit: Nike