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Puma turns experimental sneakers into compost

Dec 1, 2023 Germany
Puma turns experimental sneakers into compost
At the end of its two-year Re:Suede project, Puma has shown that an experimental version of its classic Suede sneaker can be turned into compost under certain tailored industrial conditions
In 2021, the sportswear company developed 500 pairs of its Suede sneakers, using Zeology tanned suede, a TPE outsole and hemp fibres. These were worn for half a year by volunteers in Germany to test their comfort and durability, and then sent to a specially equipped industrial composting area operated by its partner Ortessa Group in the Netherlands. In the end, the team was able to turn them into compost under certain tailored industrial conditions.

“We learned a lot during the Re:Suede trial and how to streamline our industrial composting process to include items that need longer to turn into compost”, commented Marthien van Eersel Manager of Materials & Innovations at Ortessa. “While all Re: Suede materials can decompose, the sole of the Re: Suede required more pre-processing and additional time in the composting tunnel to completely break down”, he concluded.

“While the Re: Suede could not be processed under the standard operating procedures for industrial composting, the shoes did eventually turn into compost”, stated Anne-Laure Descours, Chief Sourcing Officer at PUMA. “We will continue to innovate with our partners to determine the infrastructure and technologies needed to make the process viable for a commercial version of the Re:Suede, including a takeback scheme, in 2024”.

In addition, based on feedback from people who wore these experimental shoes, the company also decided to upgrade the comfort of future versions of the sneakers by improving the overall fit with a new material pattern for the upper and sock liner.

The Re:Suede experiment was the first programme, along with the novel polyester recycling programme Re:Fibre, to launch as part of Puma’s “Circular Lab”, an innovation hub established to develop the company’s circularity programmes.


Image Credits: about.puma.com

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