Second life for discarded shoes

Oct 29, 2023 We all wear shoes. And every year we add another 24 billion shoes. Of our used shoes, 95% end up in landfills or incinerators, obviously with a major negative impact on the environment.

Discarded shoes Image Credit.. Getty

In the Frisian town of Heerhugowaard the Netherlands, there is the world's first shoe recycling plant that pulverizes and separates all types of footwear. And in this way contributes to CO2 reduction.

With the shoe recycling plant developed by 'FastFeetGrinded', the company aims to transform the international shoe industry into a circular industry. It reduces waste, CO2 emissions and the production of new raw materials. In appreciation of this mission, the company recently received a high visit: Queen Máxima.

'FastFeetGrinded' has developed a technology for recycling sports shoes and is working with a number of major shoe brands and online stores.

The idea originated in 2016 and was conceived by Danny Pormes and Erna Pormes-Redecker, now the entrepreneurs behind FastFeet BV and owners of Runnersworld Hoorn for 20 years.

As a supplier to the Ministry of Defense, they were expected to incorporate recycling into their business process. At the time, however, no one was available to help with this.

Therefore, they decided to develop and implement this unique process themselves. Thus, 'FastFeetGrinded' was established in 2017.

Danny Pormes and Erna Pormes-Redecker designed a machine that pulverizes sports shoes. The obtained material is separated and provides raw materials for various applications, such as the production of new sports shoes, yarns or surfaces for outdoor sports fields.

'FastFeetGrinded' has the ambition of transforming the international footwear industry into a circular working industry. For both engineering and financing, it collaborates with the Heilig Group from the northern Netherlands. This international group of companies provides engineering solutions to industrial markets, including recycling.

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