Did you know that 31 waste-disposal trucks are needed to clear the waste that 100,000 pairs of conventional sneakers create during the production process and consumer life (until their owners throw them away and they end up in landfills or incinerators)?
To help reduce this volume of waste, sport lifestyle company PUMA has introduced a new collection of products that are either recyclable or biodegradable. The PUMA InCycle collection, launched this spring, is the brand’s first full collection of closed-loop, 100% Cradle-to-Cradle Basic certifiedCM footwear, apparel and accessories. Only select raw materials have been used to manufacture this collection: PUMA InCycle uses biodegradable polymers, recycled polyester and organic cotton in order to eliminate pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other hazardous chemicals.
Besides biodegradable products, PUMA’s InCycle products include various recyclable styles, including the PUMA Track Jacket.
Recycling involves processing used materials — which normally end up in conventional disposal facilities such as landfills and incineration plants — into new materials. Alternative waste disposal, such as recycling, uses less energy compared to raw material manufacturing, reduces air pollution from waste incineration and land use from landfilling. Recycling requires energy as well, but far less on average than raw material creation. A precondition for products to be recyclable is that the materials within the product are not blended with other materials. This homogeneity is necessary because mixed or composite materials constrain separation during the recycling process and pure recycled materials cannot be obtained.
The recyclable PUMA Track Jacket is 98% made of recycled polyester deriving from used PET bottles (pictured above). In comparison, the conventional PUMA Track Jacket contains additional materials, such as elastane. To fully ensure the homogeneity of materials, the recyclable jacket’s zipper is made of recycled polyester as well.
The InCycle PUMA Track Jacket can be turned back into polyester granulate, which then serves as a secondary raw material for other products made of recycled polyester, reducing the need for crude oil, energy and the amount of waste created.
Another recyclable product example from the new PUMA InCycle collection is the PUMA Backpack, which is made of polypropylene. It will be returned to the original manufacturer in China, who will then produce new backpacks from the recycled polypropylene.
To educate consumers and facilitate the process, PUMA’s InCycle apparel, footwear and accessories have special labels that identify the product as part of the biological cycle, meaning the product is compostable and can be turned into biological nutrients; or the technical cycle, meaning it can be turned back into a raw material, or technical nutrients, for recycling into new products.
Through the products in this collection, PUMA takes a first step in addressing the environmental footprint of its consumers’ disposal, helping them to reduce their personal waste generation. Recycling requires that the consumer understands the concept and how their individual behaviour can help to support the process. Likewise PUMA is doing its share by disposing of all collected products responsibly.
To explain the products further, PUMA has created a video.
PUMA’s InCycle collection will be available in stores in February 2013 and online at puma.com.