SOEX and I:CO launch world’s first recycling system for all footwear types

Every year, millions of tonnes of used shoes end up in landfill sites or incineration plants. This results in the loss of valuable raw materials and natural resources. Every day, tens of thousands of used shoes are delivered to SOEX’s sorting and recycling plant in Wolfen, Germany. A large part of these tends to still be in good condition and can be worn again. They are distributed and sold around the world as secondhand products. This leaves around a quarter of the shoes no longer fit for use and the need for them to be disposed of professionally.

Following a five-year development phase, I:CO together with SOEX, a global leader in the field of used textiles marketing and recycling, presented the world’s first shoe recycling plant able to process all types of footwear. This pioneering system will serve to reduce waste and to close production cycles helping to enable a circular economy for the industry. It is, moreover, the first ever system able to mechanically disassemble all shoe types into their components, and to then derive from them usable secondary raw materials such as rubber, leather or foam. The innovative system provides a much needed truly sustainable solution for all unwearable shoes!

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