Outdoor footwear giant Timberland is testing the use of scrap tyres for shoe soles.
The shoe company is partnering Malaysian firm Green Rubber which devulcanizes waste tyres and turns them into ‘crumb rubber’.
This mesh crumb material can be used for rubber mats, asphalt filler, road paving and also shoe soles.
Timberland will use a 50/50 blend of Green Rubber and virgin rubber in 200,000 shoes in the Earthkeepers collection as well as select boots in the men’s rugged casual line.
The company opted to go with the 50/50 blend instead of 100 percent because of concerns about the health effects of prolonged exposure to chemicals contained in Green Rubber’s material – a concern that Timberland claims is eliminated with the recycled/virgin rubber combo.
Once Timberland’s recycled rubber-soled boots are worn out, Green Rubber can take back the soles and recycle them again.
Timberland is working on a plan to streamline the take-back process, which past experience in other industries suggest is a tall order.
The idea is in keeping with the Timberland ethos, which its website states is ‘to equip people to make a difference in their world. We do this by creating outstanding products and by trying to make a difference in the communities where we live and work while doing it.’
Denna Bowman, Head Office