We can finally recycle our sneakers!
We've been talking about it for a long time, like a distant dream. After years of development and waiting, we can finally recycle our sneakers! Dive into this exciting adventure with us.
From the beginning, Ubac has been creating the most sustainable sneakers possible, using natural and/or recycled materials. The aim was to produce in a responsible and circular way. And what could be more circular than recycling products that have already been recycled?
Many of you have been sending us e-mails or comments for several years, with a single question: what should I do with my old Ubac? For a long time, we could only advise you to take them to a Voluntary Drop-Off Point, like those at Le Relais, without really knowing what would become of them, and pointing out that one day, Ubac would have its own recycling system.
That day has finally arrived! From now on, when your pair wears out, you can send us an e-mail to email@example.com, and we'll collect it. In exchange, you'll get a €10 voucher to use on the website, with no expiry date.
How does it work ?
To understand how we recycle our sneakers, let's go to Portugal, next to our manufacturing factories. Thanks to an investment of 3 million euros and 6 years' work, this new facility has succeeded in setting up a shoe recycling system, which they patented 3 years ago. Their production capacity is 6,000 tons of recycled waste per year, but for the moment the output is 1,500 tons.
According to Pedro, who gave us a tour of the site:
"It's vital that we realize that what we've created is a crucial step in the recycling process".
Let us detail the 3 steps of this process:
1 - Stocking raw materials
The factory's waste comes mainly from tires and soles. They are stored in a large warehouse, by color, until there is a sufficient quantity to launch production.
2 - Grinding
Using a belt and a large drum, pairs of shoes and tire ends are sent as they are to be crushed. The first pass results in coarse grains of rubber, which are then ground even finer to resemble sand.
3 - Devulcanizing
This rubber sand is then devulcanized. The result is a very fine material, like large rubber ribbons, ready for re-use.
The rubber is then ready for a new life! Applications for this material include the automotive industry, decoration, insulation, surfacing (for sports fields, for example) and footwear.
AXOLO RSKIN®, the perfect example of a circular sneaker
While most sneakers are made of plastic or leather (new and highly polluting), AXOLO R-SKIN® is a sustainable, plant-based alternative. The material is a blend of natural and recycled rubber. R-SKIN® revalorizes production offcuts and old soles to form a sustainable, recyclable material.
A 100% recyclable sneaker
With a design inspired by the 80's and 90's and sublimated by Portugal's finest footwear craftsmen, AXOLO R-SKIN® is combined with a recycled rubber sole to create a 100% recyclable sneaker.
We're very proud to have achieved this goal, set at the very beginning of Ubac. We've still got lots of things to do: we'd love to create a system to enable you to repair your pairs and make them last even longer. We'll tell you more about this project in the future!