annual footwear consumption amounts to 2,600 million pairs, which means that 1.5
million tones/year of footwear end up in urban dumping sites. Additionally, the
sector industries contribute 90,000 additional tones derived from by-products
and rejects. This kind of waste, which is mainly made up of a combination of
polymeric materials, textiles and leather, causes a high visual impact and its
slow degradation makes it persist in the environment.
However, the waste generated by the footwear
manufacturing activities is an important source of energy and raw material that
can be recycled. There have been previous initiatives concerning footwear
recycling, but they did not succeed mainly due to the fact that they were
directed to no value-added products or the reluctance to the processes implied
(in the case of energy generation by means of combustion).
The action to be implemented addresses the
reuse of post-used shoes and footwear waste and its utilization in new products
by means of a mechanical treatment of footwear waste. The main disadvantage of
footwear recycling is the need to separate the original components. This
proposal aims to reuse footwear as a whole, without the need to separate its
components, and to add it to higher value added products within the footwear,
sports and road safety sectors.