The main problem with recycling is that it only works with one material at a time. The contaminants present in the material during the recycling process can corrupt it resulting in inferior products. Before the recycling process, plastic bottles must be thoroughly cleaned and the glass bottles also have to buff off their labels before they can be melted and repurposed. Just imagine the case for shoes or any footwear which has multiple parts glued together to form a cohesive product.
Along with difficulty in recycling, they actually degrade over time. As the person walks, the microparticles of EVA-foam dislodge from the shoes and become environmental pollutants. To deal with these problems, 2 brothers from Paris, the fashion capital of the world, have invented footwear which is much more environmentally friendly. This is done by implementing sustainability into their design process and business model.
HODEI has developed a shoe that is looking to redefine how shoes are made, sold, worn, and recycled. The shoe is not only a product but it’s something more like a system, resulting in something that’s more sustainable by default. This all starts with HODEI’s business model. The shoes are only manufactured to order, resulting in no material or inventory wastage, and are designed in a way where absolutely no glue is used. This means that person leases them while also paying an Eco-Deposit on them.
After the customer doesn't want to use the shoe anymore, they can return it for free and the company gives them their Eco-Deposit back, either giving a 10€ discount on the next pair or in the form of a refund. The HODEI team recycles the shoe’s parts and then uses them as raw material for producing newer shoes to ensure virgin materials don’t unnecessarily enter into the production cycle. This circular economy allows HODEI to keep a check on their carbon footprint along with baking sustainability right into the company ethos. The customers only need to return the shoes back not only because of the company’s values but also for getting the deposit back.
This circular-economy approach to footwear is reinforced by the HODEI’s actual design which resembles Crocs. The main feature of the footwear is their one-piece design which is made from a single material eliminating the use of glue or the stitching procedure. The material used to manufacture HODEI’s single-piece EVA Foam construction is not only good for the environment because of its recyclability but it is also less prone to damage/breakage.
The HODEI comes in two variants which are the Silent Runner Core and the Silent Runner Kit. The Silent Runner Core just comprises base footwear that can be worn like a pair of slip-on while the Silent Runner Kit contains a leather retainer strap and laces, which gives the shoe sneakers a look rather than crocs look. Both the footwear versions are designed to be recycled efficiently and come with the cost of production, return, and recycling built into their overall price. To keep the business model cost-effective as well as planet-effective, the Eco Deposit was also added as a measure without sacrificing the off-white single-piece charm of the HODEI shoes.
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