If you multiplied the number of shoes in your closet by the world's population, you'd understand why 24 billion pairs were made in 2018 alone. Living in a consumerist world, the numbers have only risen and they're excruciating. What's worse is that less than 5% of those shoes are recycled, leaving hundreds of millions left in the landfill forever. You might be thinking, Why don't people recycle or donate? That's not the problem. Most shoes are not biodegradable shoes. That's the problem. If you have feet, this concerns you. Read on to find out how eco friendly shoes can serve your feet and the planet you walk on.
When it comes to being environmentally friendly, our minds are an obstacle. Sustainable change involves two things: greater awareness and better decisions. As consumers, we communicate with our dollar. What you pay for, you support. While it's easy to adopt the out of sight, out of mind mentality, it has grave consequences. If your shoes aren't eco-friendly shoes, your sale supports the manufacturing process, the materials, and the landfill. Huge bummer. You might think, Well, I'll have these shoes for a while, so it'll be worth the money. I won't have to worry about recycling them for years. And I'll donate them when I'm done. Recycled and donated shoes only delay the landfill decomposition process, but they don't decrease it. Biodegradable shoes are the only way to stop the statistics from growing.
Rubber shoes are among the top 10 products that take the longest to decompose. While leather shoes can take 25-40 years, rubber soles can last 50-80 years. So, as tempting as it is to justify a purchase, the cost of buying non-sustainable footwear far outweighs its benefits. A well-worn shoe's lifespan won't even last a quarter of the time it takes for it to decompose. You might be thinking, Well, it's the manufacturer's fault. What can I do about it? You'd be right to question how much control you really have. The answer is 100%. When it comes to buying sustainable footwear, there are two parties involved: The shoemaker & You. Just because the shoe exists though, doesn't mean you have to buy it. Therefore, you have the opportunity to be part of a global, conscious effort to reduce carbon emissions by shopping smarter. Starting now.
How Does it Work?
Once you familiarize yourself with the materials that shoes are made oflike rubber, plastic, and leatheryou can question how they're made. Shoe materials become shoes with the help of chemicals, glue, and stitching. Shoes don't just go to landfills for their materials, but for how they're constructed. Getting shoe-smart means knowing your synthetic materials.
- Chromium VI is a hazardous tanning chemical found in 85% of all leathers in the world
- Phthalates are hazards for plastic and rubber shoes, used to increase their flexibility
- Also known as plasticizers, polyvinylchloride (PVC), acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC), alkylsulfonic phenylester (ASE), diisononyl adipate (DINA) are all contributors to plastic shoes' impossibly long lifespan
- Nitrosamines are carcinogens used in leather shoes
- Nickel is used in metal accessories
It's one thing to unethically use animal skins for shoes, but then to have toxic chemicals to preserve them? Ouch. As is true for food, unrecognizable ingredients indicate chemicals. Just as you wouldn't want chemicals in your body, the same goes for having them on your body.
Masterful marketing and alluring brands make shopping a mind game. Stats and facts aren't available on shoeboxes, so how can you tell if your shoes are biodegradable? Conventional shoes don't sport information about their manufacturing process and there's a reason for that. Environmentally friendly shoes do. When it comes to finding the best quality shoes for your feet and the earth, keep an eye out for these keywords.
- Recycled materials
- Bio-based and organic claims
- Responsibly sourced
- Carbon neutral
- Eco friendly
- Sustainably certified
From these traits, you'll instantly know none of the aforementioned chemicals were used in the manufacturing process. If you aren't given information, it should spark questions. Earth-friendly shoe companies will want everyone to know they are; hence why we are EarthFriendlyShoes.com. Sustainable footwear can be made with any of the following biodegradable materials:
- Cotton (preferably organic)
- Natural latex
- Castor oil
- Palm leaves
- Pineapple leaf fibers
Paired with non-toxic glues for manufacturing, biodegradable shoes are natural, durable, and life-changingfor everyone. Plus, who wouldn't want a shoe made from bamboo and pineapple leaves?
The only way to combat the projected 40 billion pair shoe production come 2025 is with biodegradable shoes. Better than slowing the rate at which shoes decompose, biodegradable shoes are compostable, and therefore counteract landfill pollution long-term.
Biodegradable Shoe Benefits
- Reduces chemicals and fossil materials
- Reduces waste
- Uses Earth's materials, so they can return to Earth
- Reduces carbon emissions
- Uses less water and energy
- Helps the economic and ecological systems
Sustainable footwear is forever. Not only will biodegradable shoes sustain your feet, but they'll live on long after you're through with them.Besides, why recycle shoes when you can plant them?
Walk This World Differently
As the famous Maya Angelou said, Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, you do better. We'd like to believe everyone's doing the best they can. That said, it's hard to keep buying conventional, non-sustainable shoes when there are eco-friendly shoes waiting to be worn by you.If you talk the eco talk, biodegradable shoes are how to walk the eco walk. For the activists, advocates, environmentalists, vegans, conservationists, and shoe enthusiasts of all ages, your biodegradable shoes beckon. When it comes to change, people pick and choose their battles. You may not be ready to give up some things, but the style, quality, and mission of biodegradable shoes can be your foot's newest fetish. Contact us today to support the ultimate feel-good shoe.