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firenzee
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haphe wrote:We are not going to change mindset overnight. However, i think that "going green" is something that should be taking place within footwear in a gradual manner, with improvements season to season. It is too much to ask a supplier to turn their whole business green as the price will scare people off - baby steps at this stage are required until it is something that becomes standard as demand increases. No need for the brands to promote this as something special - it is something that should morally happen across the complete range.
I completely agree, and actually I think that more is happening in most industries than a lot of people realise. Companies are very aware that in the not-too-distant-future they are going to be forced by law or consumer pressure to prove their green credentials, and change is already happening in the background. At this stage though, it can be dangerous to shout about a 'green' product, simply because it is not yet viable to produce a cell phone, or a shoe, using 100% recyclable, reusable or compostible materials and resources. Until you hit that magic number, can you imagine the reaction if you sold your product as 'green' only to have to admit that maybe only 10% of it is produced from post-consumer material? I would say that most designers are aware of the need to change, as are sourcing, manufacturers etc... BUT everyone accepts that this is a step by step process.
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c-boogie
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I personally hate it. The first outsole plant I went to in southern China was a real eye opener. I'm still very interested in the idea of working greener and try my best when I can, but the amount of waste in the plant was astounding. We were doing TPR injection at the time and during inspection each machine had two pallets loaded waist high with flash and rejects and it wasn't even noon. There was plenty more to come.

Here we are a few years later and I have made small inroads. We have changed manufacturers and our current factory uses a modified LEAN manufacturing method, they have their own compression molding plant and are very focused on waste and resource management. It's a bit of a relief, but...I have to agree with what others have said already: if the bottom line is effected negatively with cost increases, there isn't any motivation for change. The only opportunity I can see in the next 5-10 years is if the consumer market continues to tighten it's purse stings. Import duties on canvas upper/rubber bottom shoes doesn't help much, but demand for lower price points, textile uppers, simple designs and overall product longevity are all helpful too. (The one-piece molded designs that everyone seems to be pushing are not helpful, imo.)

As far as regrind goes, most outsole factories already add a little regrind into their rubber compounds - but as I understand it that's limited to no more than 10% of the compound makeup. Rubber, once it heats and cools changes molecular structure so when you regrind you're basically just adding filler. It's something, but it's not much, and certainly more difficult to market to general consumers (it's not post-consumer waste in most cases, it doesn't improve the rubber and so on).
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c-boogie wrote:As far as regrind goes, most outsole factories already add a little regrind into their rubber compounds - but as I understand it that's limited to no more than 10% of the compound makeup. Rubber, once it heats and cools changes molecular structure so when you regrind you're basically just adding filler. It's something, but it's not much, and certainly more difficult to market to general consumers (it's not post-consumer waste in most cases, it doesn't improve the rubber and so on).
c-boogie,

Black EVA (in some factories) is mostly the rejected molded pieces and the leftover blocks from dye cutting (all colors), reground together and dyed. You can always ask your factory if they use this process. If they do, use it for your insoles and offset in your tooling.

Water based glues have also come a long way and are now the same price as the old VOC glues.

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nxakt
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Interesting discussion as it applies to most anything that is produced commercially.

I'm curious about the water based glues, are they as strong as the solvent glues? Are they in use commercially? Here is the problem, for example, proposing them to my factory for production of snowboard binding straps, which are made on shoe production lines using the same materials and processes. Factories and brands want to take zero chances, zero. The resistance would be equal by the American brands that are produced and the factory that makes them. Everyone imagines them peeling off 10 months from now, the default has always been, stick with the nastiest, most aggressive, toxic smelling glue, because it sticks. The default is to mitigate risk because in the market there is near zero awareness.

Any designer that has seen and smelled a Chinese or Vietnamese gluing line and not felt some guilt about the production chain they are participating in, has a much stronger disposition than myself.
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yo
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The water based adhesives (it's not glue, there is actually a difference, though I'm not sure on the technicals of it) don't tend to be as strong just yet though the costs have been mitigated to some extent. What does that mean? The tips of outsoles might delamitate with a bit faster, you need more bonding margin (surface area) to ge the same hold, BUT the value is that the shoe is much greener to produce.
superwoo
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Has anybody on this forum been adding some plastic to their designs lately? You know TPU molds, polyester meshes, synthetic leather is not environmentally friendly right.I saw these washed up Reeboks on a deserted beach in the Caribbean, anyone on this forum design them?

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nxakt
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Your beach Reeboks: Someone designed them, someone made them, someone sold them and someone else bought them. Ultimately someone lost them in the ocean.

We are all in this together with virtually all we do, and consume.
ginrod
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as we were talking about athletic footwear, i can say from my experience, that there must be huge amounts of shoes which are tossed away yearly, not because they are out of fashion but because they do break down.
as a long time soccer player, i have had shoes hardly longer than one year because they just break. And im not talking about cheap ones at all. To Train and play optimal, we had a pair of normal soccer shoes, a pair of soccer shoes with metal cleats, indoor soccer shoes and running shoes. Now think that you have to buy almost every year all of them new.
with a product like that, especially with millions of kids who also outgrow the old shoes, i would really like to see a thought through recycling system.
Maybe like the bottle deposit system. Where you pay something extra when you buy it and get it back when you bring back the shoes. Maybe then putting the producing companies in charge of getting rid of them, so at least they have some responsibility.

Any ideas how such a system could look like?

greetings!
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davidwhetstone
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Personally, I don't feel much pressure or guilt in doing what I do. It's just not personally one of my priorities making things environmental. I'd rather focus on designing things so they have a good emotional attachment and add value to a user's life, let them express themselves, etc. than designing some electronic widget that is C2C green. But that's just me. I'm not passing any judgement on anyone else's priorities.

And I'm not even going to get started on the fact that while many things can be designed to be recycled, few actually ever are.
I've just skimmed this so far, but the emotional attachment comment is one I very much respect and do my best to stick to. When designing, there is a reason to sweat the details, and to me sweating the details means someone will (probably without understanding exactly why) call the product I designed "theirs" and identify with it. It will be taken care of and will not be thrown away.

Green junk is still junk, and "wasteful" stuff isn't wasteful if it is not thrown away or even handed down.

Truly making an effort to make things that connect to people, through detailing, whatever, is really important.

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shoenista
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Green junk is still junk
I agree, there are so many so-called green brands out there, the product still gets chucked away though, it's still surplus. Eco friendly clothing deadstock being cleared in TK Maxx - is that green? Not really. I think the most green products are the ones that are made traditionally, to last a lifetime. They may not be cheap, but they should last and last, just get them repaired.
superwoo
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How can you ignore that what you design, that cool technology, the fact that you are direct injecting a cool shape sole to an upper is going into a landfill in about 2 years from when your cool design is released.

How can you feel satisfied and proud that you have convinced millions of people to buy your shoe design and that in 2 years most of those dirty shoes are going to be taking the place of fields and trees.

How can you not care that the one year old cell phone you are throwing away for your new smart phone won't be recycled safely and will instead be shipped to some dump in Africa or Asia where shoeless workers are melting them down in smoke filled huts.

How can you not see that as designers you are feeding the West’s obsession with consumption and obsolesce.

Is it fair to say that most designers are no more than lesser paid pop stars trying to make someone else as much money as possible, by feeding consumers the most gratifying consumer experience, but with complete disregard the long term life and performance of the product?
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slippyfish
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superwoo wrote:How can you not see that as designers you are feeding the West’s obsession with consumption and obsolesce.

Is it fair to say that most designers are no more than lesser paid pop stars trying to make someone else as much money as possible, by feeding consumers the most gratifying consumer experience, but with complete disregard the long term life and performance of the product?
It's not a phenomenon exclusive to the 'West'... maybe 100 years ago it was but now you spell the hottest markets "BRIC".

I'm trying to make myself as much money as possible. If the people paying me want sustainable, I give it to them. If they don't, I might suggest it, but I'm not dying on that mountain.
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yo
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superwoo wrote:How can you ignore that what you design, that cool technology, the fact that you are direct injecting a cool shape sole to an upper is going into a landfill in about 2 years from when your cool design is released.

How can you feel satisfied and proud that you have convinced millions of people to buy your shoe design and that in 2 years most of those dirty shoes are going to be taking the place of fields and trees.

How can you not care that the one year old cell phone you are throwing away for your new smart phone won't be recycled safely and will instead be shipped to some dump in Africa or Asia where shoeless workers are melting them down in smoke filled huts.

How can you not see that as designers you are feeding the West’s obsession with consumption and obsolesce.

Is it fair to say that most designers are no more than lesser paid pop stars trying to make someone else as much money as possible, by feeding consumers the most gratifying consumer experience, but with complete disregard the long term life and performance of the product?
So I'm guessing you posted this using a hand crank recharging a home made environmentally friendly sustainable battery that powers a reused Apple IIc and a vintage CRT monitor? Wearing completely reused or home made clothes? And even if you did all that, which you didn't, think of all the energy that was used to deliver that text to everyone reading it....

They say the most sustainable product is the one that never existed. The same goes for the most sustainable human.
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slippyfish
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I call it "hand picked hypocrisy". Everyone is guilty of it, in one form or another.
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Stuffed Vulture
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I think athletic foot design gets a bad rap because it often represents the worst aspects of overstated, attention-seeking, non bio-degradable plastic commodity. When they wash up on Pacific atolls, away from the context of (supposedly) fashion-forward designers and consumers, they become an enduring testament vanity, and shameless exploitation of cheap labor and the planet's un-renewable resources.

It's when our crap enters the food chain that's particularly upsetting: The Midway Project documents Albatrosses feeding their young tooth brushes and lighters because they think it's food.

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