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These shoes are made for… recycling

More than two million pairs of work and safety shoes are thrown away in the Netherlands and Belgium each year but only a small proportion is recycled. That has to change say manufacturers who have launched a campaign to ramp up collection and recycling.

They are members of the Circular Footwear Alliance (CFA) that operates a network of collection points in both countries. Collected shoes are shipped to sorting centres where materials such as rubber, leather, metal and cotton are separated for reuse in the production of new shoes.

The alliance wants to save ‘high-quality’ materials for second life by moving towards improved collection and recycling, more collection points and smarter processing tools and technology. The project’s co-initiators, EMMA Safety Footwear and Allshoes Safety Footwear, claim the lion’s share of the Benelux market for safety shoes.

After Belgium and the Netherlands, the programme will be expanded to several other European countries, says CFA. Ultimately, the alliance has the goal of recycling two million work and safety shoes per year.

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