PUMA Kicks Off Biodegradable Shoe and Clothing Campaign

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PUMA’s InCycle basket sole

With an innovative new sustainable clothing line, PUMA continues its leadership on integrating sustainability throughout its supply chain, operations and product lines. This week, the sporting apparel company announced the upcoming release of a promised fashion line featuring both athletic wear and shoes that will be completely biodegradable and recyclable. The company has built upon on last year’s roll out of the Re-Suede, a shout-out to its iconic 1970s sneaker that in its new iteration is made out of recycled materials. Now, over 20 items for its Spring/Summer 2013 fashion line will be even more sustainable.

From compostable bags to ecologically sound stores, PUMA has demonstrated a commitment to performance with a keen eye on the impact it has on the environment. So what is in store for the spring season?

The upcoming footwear, clothing and accessories will help nudge PUMA towards more of a “closed-loop” system. First, PUMA and its suppliers realize recycling is more seamless if items are made out of a single-source, homogenous material. For example, a PUMA track jacket be 98 percent recycled PET bottles. A backpack will be 100 percent polypropylene. Meanwhile such biodegradable products as a new athletic shoe, the “Basket,” will feature an upper made with organic cotton and linen with a sole composed out of biodegradable plastic. All products within this PUMA InCycle collection will be labeled under the trademarked Cradle-to-Cradle certification program–an impressive first for an apparel company. So how will this recycling and composting work?

PUMA, biodegradable, bring me back program, InCycle, PUMA InCycle collection, Leon Kaye, sustainability, recycling, biodegradable clothing, composting
PUMA’s recyclable track jacket

Do not think you can just dump a jacket in the recycling bin or bury those worn out sneakers in your garden – you will have about as much luck with that old pair of Crocs. Under PUMA’s “Bring Me Back” program, customers can return those unwanted goods to the company’s stores. PUMA, in turn, will ship some products back to their suppliers and have them recycle the goods into new products, as in the case with the backpacks. As for biodegradable clothing, one of PUMA’s contractors will shred them at an industrial composting facility. According to Reuters, that process would take up to nine months.

While beverage firms hem and haw over collecting their waste and fast food companies look away from the garbage their stores create, PUMA sets a tough standard for accomplishing what is hard: recycling textiles and materials that are difficult to collect and reprocess.

Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable BusinessInhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter.

Photos courtesy PUMA.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is a business writer and strategic communications specialist. He has also been featured in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. When he has time, he shares his thoughts on his own site, GreenGoPost.com. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). He is currently living and working in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.