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PUMA Kicks Off Biodegradable Shoe and Clothing Campaign

Words by Leon Kaye

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?

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.

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's worked an lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.

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