Agricultural Waste Gets Upcycled By Portland Footwear Brand


Eager Footwear launches a shoe That comes with agricultural waste, as An factor of The agency’s broadverter … [+] sustainability efforts.

Eager Footwear

This fall, KEEN footwear launched Definitely one of their basic designs with a twist: a sole madverte with agricultural waste.

“Making footwear Isn’t good for the environment, however we’re making an try To vary that, and these new footwear are ‘much less dangerous.’ The final phrase objective is that we’re A minimal of impartial, if not constructive,” says Erik Burbank of KEEN.

The household-run Portland-based mostly footwear mannequin is pushing for cleaner manufacturing practices, he says. After spfinishing 7 years on The disadvertvantage of PFAS/PFCs, the so-referred to as “eternally chemical compounds” typically Utilized in manufacturing, The agency get rid ofd The probably poisonous chemical compounds from not solely its personal lineup of footwear, But in advertdition inspired completely different fashions to Adjust to go well with. In a full Website Ny Occasions advert, they inspired completely different corporations to get rid of the chemical compounds from their current chains as properly, and even share their insights with sensible know-how on their internet website.

This fall, they’ve launched two designs — Elsa and Eldon — using agricultural waste (which Burbank assures doesn’t embrace any crops used for meals consumption). Although The solely Is merely 51% of waste, he says, “That’s 51% much less petroleum we’re placing into our footwear.”

Using a proprietary manufacturing method that required a quantity of rounds of look ating, they have been In a place to create a sole that matched in efficiency to an all petroleum-based mostly sole. It arrives in a area that get rid ofs The want For An further delivery automotiveton, which Burbank notes, further reduces dpersonal on their automotivedboard use (by about 63%). As properly as, the newly designed shoe doesn’t require Using chemical solvents, making it A pair of of the notable improvements by The agency, he says.

As they proceed To reduce dpersonal on Using petroleum-based mostly supplies, Burbank argues that transparency Is very important. “We created the Harvest certification program So as that people can see precisely how a lot industrial waste is being repurposed or averted. It helps maintain away from greenwashing when somephysique is using Decrease than 10% but promoting it as A completely upcycled product.”

This Harvest supplies certification program will go stay in early 2022 and it’ll be open-sourced so completely different footwear corporations can take part as properly. “We’re going To vary this enterprise if we work collectively, not in the direction of Every completely different. So we hope extra corporations be a part of us on this.”

This method will embrace three ranges of certification based mostly on the content material of upcycled supplies (50% for gold, 25% for silver, and 10% for bronze). They put Definitely one of their properly-appreciated designers by way of the certification first: the Howser Harvest, which options upcycled automotive seat leather-based in 80% of its greater supplies. Other upcoming designs with furtherly embrace upcycled espresso grounds, Burbank says. 

Although all these footwear embrace upcycled supplies, their finish of life Continues to be one factor to decided, given footwear require disassembly Of numerous factors earlier than They’re typically correctly recycled. But Burbank is keen to see that by way of. Truly, he says The agency hadvert a recycle program almost ten years Neverthemuch less it was too early then with little reception from consumers. Now, though, the tide has shifted with many People Looking for extra methods to restore and recycle their gear.

When requested about how he reckons with criticism on their eco-efforts, Burbank leans in the direction of optimism. “We’re On A daily basis welcoming constructive criticism on The biggest Method To reinforce our practices and no, we’re not On the final objective but When it Includes sustainability.” 

As a household-personaled agency though, he says, they’re In a place to Deal with initiatives, experiments, and look at out new supplies simply. “I haven’t labored in An group like this earlier than the place your ideas are so properly acquired and the environment is so entrance and center in everyfactor we do.”