LIFE KANNAGreen - Demonstration of a new business and consumption model for the circular economy in the footwear sector
In 2017, the world production of shoes was 23.5 million pairs, of which 4% was in Europe. The EU is the world’s leading importer of shoes, accounting for 36.2%. The waste generated after use is about 1.2 million tons per year, of which it is estimated that only 5% is recycled, 15% is reused and 80% is landfilled. On average, each pair of shoes has an environmental footprint of 10. 6 kg CO2, of which 58% corresponds to manufacturing, 11% to assembly and finishing, 16% to packaging, 6% to distribution, and 9% to packaging and end-of-life. Consequently, annually, the global environmental footprint of the footwear industry adds up to a total of 249.1 billion kg CO2, of which the EU accounts for around 10 billion kg CO2. Factors relating to material selection account for up to half of the environmental footprint of a pair of shoes. Petroleum-based materials composing soles (PU, TPU, PVC, EVA, synthetic rubber) are the part that contributes most to the negative effects on the environment. Current and forthcoming legislation and market pressures are forcing the footwear industry towards measures to deal with its end-of-life waste, while increasing recycling rates. Hence, end-of-life product recovery schemes and solutions for post-consumer shoes recycling needs to be established to minimise the environmental impacts of end-of-life shoes while taking advantage of the value of end-of-life materials.
LIFE KANNAGreen aims at demonstrating the feasibility of CAPICCIO ́s proposed circular business model for footwear, which is based on a take-back and recycling scheme as well as on cradle-to-cradle philosophies. The model is focused on reducing the environmental impact of footwear, mainly from the soles. KANNAGreen footwear has already been validated at lab scale, through the development of three prototype models. Applied technology is based on separation of ELKs (End-of-Life KANNA shoes) materials and formulation, thermoforming and injection techniques. These processes allow the integration of the different recycled materials into new footwear soles, thus closing the loop of the footwear industry for the first time. The environmental footprint of each pair of KANNAGreen shoes is expected to be reduced to 7.22 kg CO2 (38.3% reduction).The project is directly related to the common EU targets for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035, 70% of packaging waste by 2030, and reducing landfill to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2035. It also implements the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy (e.g. ecodesign, recycling of materials), Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe (COM (2011) 571), amended Waste Framework Directive (2018/851), Low Carbon economy 2050 Roadmap, European Green Deal, along with UN Sustainable Development Goals on responsible consumption and production, and climate action.
During project implementation:
- The environmental footprint of a pair of KANNAGreen shoes reduced to 7.22 kg CO2, a reduction of 38.3% with respect to conventional KANNA shoes and by 31.9% compared to comparable European footwear;
- Footprint saving of 728 tons CO2, reduction of about 0.073% with respect to average European production;
- 67 000 pairs of End-of-Life KANNA shoes collected for recycling, a total landfill waste reduction of 46.9 tons;
- Raw material consumption reduction of 30.19 tons (textile, rubber and plastics);
- Employment generation (5 new jobs);
- Demonstration of a new business and consumption sustainable model for the Circular Economy in the footwear sector in 6 European countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Spain) that will be replicated and transferred to other countries, entities and sectors at European level; and
- KANNAGreen footwear accredited by EU Ecolabel.
In the long-term (by 2029), CAPICCIO expects to expand its KANNAGreen line up to 50% of its complete catalogue:
- Footprint saving of 5 386 tons CO2. Compared to average EU footwear sector footprint, the reduction is about 0.54%;
- A total of 1 105 000 pairs of End-of-Life KANNA shoes will be collected for recycling, which implies 773.5 tons of waste reduction (0.064% reduction of EU landfill);
- From the manufacturing of 1 202 500 KANNAGreen pairs, the consumption of 210.44 tons of raw materials will be reduced (textile, rubber and plastics), which implies around 0.04% of raw materials reduction with regards to EU consumption;
- 25-35 new jobs created; and
- Implementation of the new business and consumption model in the 11 international countries where CAPICCIO operates.