If you’re a parent, you’ll be very familiar with that frustration of buying a gorgeous pair of shoes for your child, only to find they’ve grown out of them just a few months later.
As a mum of three, it wasn’t the cost that frustrated me most, it was the waste… Be honest, how many pairs of kids’ shoes do you have sitting at home, in the bottom of a wardrobe, waiting to find a new home? And what about the things that HAD managed to be worn out… Shoes are notoriously difficult to recycle, so what to do next?
There are just under 8 billion people on this planet.
Of the 24.2 billion pairs of shoes manufactured globally each year, experts say the majority will end up in landfill because there are simply too many shoes and not enough recycling solutions. In addition to this shocking fact, around 35% of shoe production uses cheap PVC or EVA (petrochemical-based plastics) which will take a minimum of 1000 years to decompose (if at all) and can cause serious harm to our water systems. Clearly our relationship with disposable purchasing has to change.
There are some simple things we can do that can have a huge impact.
It has been approximated that extending the useable life of your apparel by an extra 6-9 months would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30%.... that’s a huge amount of carbon being removed from the environment just by changing the way we consume and use our products (see more stats here)
Now we can’t control how quickly our children grow (and wouldn’t want to!) But we can seek out routes to actively extending the useful life of the products we choose for them.
- Choose well made, durable products that can be handed down.
Try and avoid passing trends, choose classic styles that will not date.
If they are unisex, even better – they can be handed from brother to sister and beyond.
- Find brands and products that use sustainable design to combat this problem.
At ZIG+STAR, all our shoes use “Good-To-Grow” design that allow our products to grow and adjust with the child. Our innovative removable midsole leaves extra room to grow, creating expandable shoes that last up to 6 months longer than the average kids' shoe.
- Have you ever thought about Resale?
A pair of well made, podiatrist approved, second-hand shoes will be far better for kids’ feet (and the environment) than a cheap pair of fast fashion, plastic shoes. At ZIG+STAR, we incentivise customers to resell through the kids’ fashion resale platform Dotte but there are other amazing platforms such at The Octopus Club where you can anything child related, from buggies to all kinds of baby equipment.
- Don’t throw away, donate instead.
There are amazing charities out there that are crying out for your old kidswear. And with the current cost of living crisis we are facing, there are more and more food banks and community based projects that need your help. ZIG+STAR partners with a brilliant charity called Sals Shoes who gets your old, useable shoes to the people who need them most (and we will pay your postage to get them there!)
- When they’ve finally reached the end of the road… Recycle!
Do not be tempted to send your trashed kids' shoes to the charity shops. They don’t have the capabilities to deal with your unusable donations. It’s our mission to ensure no ZIG+STARs should ever end up in landfill, so we will pay for you to send your old shoes back to us to be recycled. They will be broken down and re-purposed for anything from kids playgrounds to carpet padding.
It's a win win… save money and reduce your impact at the same time.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle