Waste Management Activities of Footwear Companies
Subject: Modern Civilization, Sociology | Topics: ,

Waste management

Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal, and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is also carried out to recover resources from it. Waste management can involve solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive substances, with different methods and fields of expertise for each.

Waste management practices differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers. Management for non-hazardous residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator.

Waste management concepts

There are a number of concepts about waste management which vary in their usage between countries or regions. Some of the most general, widely-used concepts include:

  • Waste hierarchy – The waste hierarchy refers to the “3 Rs” reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability in terms of waste minimization. The waste hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.
  • Extended producer responsibility – Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy designed to promote the integration of all costs associated with products throughout their life cycle (including end-of-life disposal costs) into the market price of the product. Extended producer responsibility is meant to impose accountability over the entire lifecycle of products and packaging introduced to the market. This means that firms which manufacture, import and/or sell products are required to be responsible for the products after their useful life as well as during manufacture.
  • Polluter pays principle – the Polluter Pays Principle is a principle where the polluting party pays for the impact caused to the environment. With respect to waste management, this generally refers to the requirement for a waste generator to pay for appropriate disposal of the waste.


Traditionally the waste management industry has been slow to adopt new technologies such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, GPS and integrated software packages which enable better quality data to be collected without the use of estimation or manual data entry.

  • Technologies like RFID tags are now being used to collect data on presentation rates for curb-side pick-ups which is useful when examining the usage of recycling bins or similar.
  • Benefits of GPS tracking is particularly evident when considering the efficiency of ad hoc pick-ups (like skip bins or dumpsters) where the collection is done on a consumer request basis.
  • Integrated software packages are useful in aggregating this data for use in optimisation of operations for waste collection operations.
  • Rear vision cameras are commonly used for OH&S reasons and video recording devices are becoming more widely used, particularly concerning residential services and contaminations of the waste stream.

Education and awareness

Education and awareness in the area of waste and waste management is increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management. The Talloires Declaration is a declaration for sustainability concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, and the depletion of natural resources. Local, regional, and global air pollution; accumulation and distribution of toxic wastes; destruction and depletion of forests, soil, and water; depletion of the ozone layer and emission of “green house” gases threaten the survival of humans and thousands of other living species, the integrity of the earth and its biodiversity, the security of nations, and the heritage of future generations. Several universities have implemented the Talloires Declaration by establishing environmental management and waste management programs, e.g. the waste management university project. University and vocational education are promoted by various organizations, e.g. WAMITAB and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management. Many supermarkets encourage customers to use their reverse vending machines to deposit used purchased containers and receive a refund from the recycling fees. Brands that manufacture such machines include Tomra and Envipco.

Footwear Wastage

The footwear industry is a manufacturing sector which utilizes a wide variety of materials and processes to produce a range of distinctly different products, from sandals to specialized safety footwear. Shoes are designed to fulfill an array of consumer requirements relating to function and fashion, and incorporate varied range of designs and styles. In addition, a range of distinctly different materials such as leather, synthetic materials, rubber and textile are commonly used in shoe manufacturing.

These materials differ not only in their appearance but also in their physical qualities, their service life, the different treatment needs as well as their recycling and recovery options at the end of their useful life. There are approximately 40 different materials used in the manufacturing of a shoe1. For example, Figure 1 represents the average composition of a typical men’s shoe which has been measured after grinding. These variations in designs, styles and materials, together with the environmental and economic implications of end-of-life shoe processing determine the feasible approaches to deal with this rapidly increasing waste stream.

Over the last 20 years, the footwear sector has placed significant effort in improving material efficiency, as well as eliminating the use of hazardous materials during the production phase. However, the environmental gains made in production are being overtaken by the negative impact of the considerable increase in the demand for footwear products.

Worldwide footwear consumption has doubled every 20 years, from 2.5 billion pairs in 1950 to more than 20 billion pairs of shoes in 20052 (see Figure 2). As a result, the worldwide per capita consumption of footwear has also considerably increased, from 1 pair of shoes per year for every person in the world in 1950 to almost 2.6 pairs of shoes in 2005. In the European Union, footwear consumption has increased by 22% from 2002-2005 to reach 2.3 billion.

Pairs of shoes3. However, the per capita figure differs significantly between each country4 (see Table 1). Although China has the highest footwear consumption in the world, the United States is the country with the highest per capita shoe consumption, since each inhabitant purchase an average of 6.9 pairs of shoes every year. At the other extreme, in the less developed countries, the per capita figure is 0.6 pairs for India and 0.5 pairs of shoes for Vietnam (which means one pair of shoes for each person every two years).

This rapid growth in shoe sales has also resulted in a significant increase in post-consumer footwear waste. In the EU, it is estimated that the waste arising from post-consumer shoes will reach 1.2 million tones per year. The retail figure for 2003 indicated that around 338 million pairs of shoes were sold in the UK. Based on this figure, it is estimated that the waste arising from post-consumer shoes reached 169,000 tones. In addition, it has been estimated that the total arising of textile and footwear waste is approximately 1,165,000 tones per year in the UK, while the amount of textile waste reused or recycled annually I estimated to be 324,000 tonnes5.

Based on a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) study, about 9% of all recovered post consumer  textiles are sold as second-hand shoes6. This indicates that around 29,160

Tones of post-consumer shoes are collected each year for direct reuse in the UK or for exportation to developing countries. However, it is estimated that approximately 10% of the collected secondhand shoes are not suitable for reuse due to their condition, and consequently end up in landfill Therefore, based on these estimates, approximately 15% (26,244 tones) of post consumer shoe waste in the UK are collected and re-distributed as second hand shoes, while the rest (85% or 142,756 tones) are disposed of in landfills. Waste disposal is increasingly regulated within the European Union. At the same time, waste management costs are increasing. With regards to waste management, the footwear industry needs: – guidelines in order to better anticipate future regulations and deal with them effectively, – a tool in order to estimate the effectiveness of the waste management. This European Standard incorporates such a tool, designed specifically for the footwear industry. In order to improve the waste management, the footwear manufacturer should perform the following tasks:

  • reduce the quantity of waste,
  • reuse the waste,
  • recycle the waste,
  • incinerate and recover energy from the waste,
  • treat the waste.

This document could be used by a company that wishes to implement the EN ISO 14001:1996 management system standard.

This document specifies the process steps which are involved in the generation of the waste from footwear manufacture and the usual waste management practices. It also establishes a European list of the usual wastes generated during the footwear manufacturing process. It can be applied to one specific product, a specific group of products, and one specific production technology within the factory or to the whole production of a company.

Unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the developed world have led to an increased generation of waste over many decades. Although local and national authorities, governmental agencies, manufacturers and the general public have come to recognize the importance of controlling waste at source, total waste elimination is not possible. There will always be some waste that cannot be prevented at source and so need to be treated at the end of its functional life.

Considering the amount of end-of- life (EoL) waste generated every year, understanding and developing methods for EoL management is a major part of the overall waste management concern. The footwear industry over the last years has placed significant effort in improving energy and material efficiency, as well as eliminating the use of hazardous materials during the production phase. However, the environmental gains and energy efficiency made in production are being overtaken by the considerable increase in the demand for footwear products, the so called rebound effect .

Moreover, the useful life of shoes is relatively short and progressively decreasing as a result of rapid market changes and consumer fashion trends. This creates a large waste stream of worn and discarded shoes at the time their functional life has ended, and most of them are being disposed in landfills. Producer-responsibility issues and forthcoming environmental legislations, as well as increasingly environmental consumer demands, are expected to challenge the way the footwear industry deals with its EoL products.

The footwear industry is a diverse manufacturing sector which employs a wide variety of materials to make products ranging from different types and styles of footwear to more specialized shoes. Leather, synthetic materials, rubber and textile materials are amongst the basic materials most commonly used in shoe manufacture; each material has its own specific characteristics. Materials significantly influence, not only the life of the footwear but also the end-of-life treatment of the product.

Approximately 40 different materials can be used in the manufacturing of a shoe nowadays; the shoe industry is facing many of the same challenges as the consumer products and food industries. To meet the needs of customers and be competitive, footwear companies must face two key challenges: being quick to market changes and stay relevant in order to identify or establish new consumer trends. This leads to a shorter life cycle of shoes, and an even increasingly shorter product development cycle for the footwear industry. A shorter life cycle of shoes means that more shoes have been produced over the years, so leading to a higher level of EoL waste by the footwear industry.

From 1990 to 2004, worldwide footwear production has increased by 70% to around 17 billion pairs of shoes while by 2010 experts in the sector expect the global footwear output to reach 20 billion pairs. Shoe production and consumption is definitely rising. Western Europe and United States consume 2 billion pairs of shoes each every year. In the UK alone, more than 330 million pairs of shoes, with a total market value of more than £5 billion are consumed every year.

Wastage system

Proper disposition of a discarded or discharged material in accordance with local environmental guidelines or laws.

Final placement or riddance of wastes, excess, scrap, etc., under proper process and authority with (unlike in storage) no intention to retrieve. Disposal may be accomplished by abandonment, destruction, internment, incineration, donation, sale, etc.

Processing and or removal to final resting place or transfer to a place for re-use or recovering of waste.

The process of getting rid of unwanted, broken, worn out, contaminated or spoiled materials in an orderly, regulated fashion.

The act of getting rid of unwanted items and material having no value in excess of their basic material content. Mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) is typically disposed of at landfills, mixed-waste composting facilities, or energy recovery facilities. The removal of unwanted materials left over from manufacturing processes or people’s lifestyles.

Proper waste disposal involves following the supplier’s instructions found on the MSDS for each material. Also, soap makers may contact a recycling center to ask if it will accept old essential oils, fragrance oils, rancid base fats, fixed oils, curdled soap batches, and etc.

Disposal is the management of waste to prevent harm to the environment, injury or long term progressive damage to health. Disposal of waste is where the intention is to permanently store the waste for the duration of its biological and chemical activity, such that it is rendered harmless.

History of Footwear Industries Wastage Management (1816-2009):

1816 – The company was founded in 1816 and is headquartered in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. View brief Business Summary.Its Trading and Industrial segment involves in the distribution and retail of motor vehicles, sports and casual footwear, and apparel; packaging and retail of sugar products; marble cutting and contracting; waste management services; and the manufacture of aluminum can and paints. The company was founded in 1816 and is headquartered in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

May 19, 1880 – The great speculator lets whale districts lio waste and pays nothing j tho farmer who improves, pays a penny in the £ on his improvements. Now, if they choose, very large savings may be made in the management of the education system, without doing any injury at all to education.

Jul 29, 1881 – This industry would afford profitable employment to cottage farmers, and alao to women and children, and would utilize large tracts of land, which at present are either waste or yielding but little.” Up to last year tobacco growing had been established on a small scale in various parts.

Dec 5, 1941 – That is, industrial management must have the authority and responsibility for turning out the goods. Second, the defense agency must plan defense. Avoid waste in defense spending-. 3. Raise a substantial proportion of the cost of the defense program by widely spread taxation.

Sep 3, 1943 – WOOL WASTE : OPA emphasized that the ceilings I price for fine woolen threads, light, per cent up to not including 98 per cent wool, balance other fibers.  BOOK PAPER: Fourteen representatives of the book industry have been appointed by OPA as a book paper industry advisory committee.

Mar 22, 1977 – This optimistic judgment presupposes major reforms in waste management practices. Recent analyses indicate that US economic incentives for recycling. To implement outmoded solutions in an attempt to revive an industry as inherently labor-intensive as is footwear manufacturing.

Aug 4, 1993 – Nike said it is teaming up with the Foot Locker store at Edison Mall in Fort Myers, Fla., and the waste management company Gulf Disposal. It would use recycled materials in making new footwear as part of an effort to lead the industry in environmentally responsible programs.

Aug 10, 2000 – Rules for dumping human, animal and industrial waste on land, in water or in leaky landfills, for example. The closest the announcement comes to preventing – as distinct from treating – unhealthy water lies in the phrase “consultations on nutrient management,” aka manure.

Jun 15, 2001 – For services to the Footwear Industry and to the community in Bacup, Lancashire. (Bacup, Lancashire). Simon Paul Clegg. Chief executive, British Olympic Member, Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee. For services to Environmental Protection.

Nov 11, 2002 – “The biggest single item we throw away is food scraps,” said Bruce Goddard, public affairs director for the Alameda County Waste Management Board. “If we’re concerned about landfill capacity, that’s what we should target.” Then there’s the cost &  Rule of thumb for recycling .

Nov 26, 2003 – In April 2002, the Government called for expressions of interest from the local and international waste management industry for technology options to develop large-scale waste-treatment facilities in Hong Kong. An advisory group, made up mostly of non-officials, was set up in late 2002.

19, Dec 2004 – The grassroots nonprofits such as BRING that launched recycling have mostly disappeared, replaced by garbage haulers and industrial heavyweights such as Waste Management and Browning Ferris. Recycling is a Band-aid. It slows the bleeding, but fails to address the cause.

Apr 13, 2005 – Nike becomes the first major company in the global footwear and apparel industries to disclose publicly its contract supplier base. Nike’s rationale for deciding to disclose its contract factory base is that the potential benefits to the industry and factory workers significantly.

Jun 25, 2005 – In southern Italy local politicians claim that the waste management industry is controlled by organised crime. Last year the European Commission said it was taking action against Italy, for 28 breaches of EU laws on the environment

Sep 19, 2005 – based waste management company said that it has agreed to continue servicing Home Depot’s account through Oct. 30. PXRE Group Ltd. ( NASDAQ:AGII) shares tumbled 10.2% after the company said that, based on estimated industry losses of $35 billion to $40 billion from.

Sep 21, 2005 – American Ecology Corporation (NASDAQ: ECOL), through its subsidiaries, provides radioactive, hazardous, and industrial waste management. The company’s products include an assortment of outdoor equipment, accessories, related technical apparel, and footwear.

Sep 23, 2005 – The Company sells both casual and dress footwear. The casual footwear include sport shoes, sandals, athletic shoes, outdoor footwear, in the management and operation of water treatment plant in Ciudad Acuna; automobile parking facilities; water supply systems, waste management.

Feb 6, 2006 – The Company sells both casual and dress footwear. The casual footwear includes sport shoes, sandals, athletic shoes, outdoor footwear, casual daywear. The Environmental Services division provides dock-side and offshore no hazardous oilfield waste management and environmental cleaning…

Oct 20, 2006 – The Waste Management segment collects, processes, and disposes of household, trade, and industrial waste. The Energy Services segment includes heating production and distribution, energy optimization and related services, and electricity production. The Transportation segment focuses.

Dec 7, 2006 – Reside/Slurry Oil is refinery waste oil that is too thick to economically crack or reprocess with past and current technologies. Boemos has constructed high -quality footwear for Dolce & Gabanna, Coach, Diesel, and the Kenneth Cole Collection among many others.

Sep 5, 2007 – The luxury industry has changed the way people dress. It has realigned our economic class system. It has changed the way we interact with others. It has become part of our social fabric. To achieve this, it has sacrificed its integrity, undermined its products, tarnished its history

Oct 10, 2007 – Numerous exhibitors have confirmed a high degree of interest in both the demand and supply sides of the Indian market”, says Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “ The Indian textile industry urgently wants to upgrade its manufacturing process.

Jul 1, 2008 – In its submission to the current Federal Government review into the textile, clothing and footwear industry, the Brotherhood of St Laurence.You know, do we encourage recycling and better waste management or do we do it better on the front end and become more efficient at process.

Jun 20, 2009 – Several landfills operated by Waste Management Inc. — Which runs about 270 active landfills in 47 states — have gone from operating six days a week to five or have, But in its earnings report, the Houston-based company also mentioned declines in the collection of industrial waste.

Feb 8, 2010 – The new CBS reality show, “Undercover Boss,” showed Waste Management President Larry O’Donnell doing entry-level work for his own company. Specifically addresses the unique industrial processes and situations that “go on” within your various Waste Management business operations.

Mar 29, 2010 – IS can help reduce waste, energy consumption and operational costs by recycling raw materials, byproducts, energy, transportation, It is also a challenge in management to build a platform, which needs to track the flow of wastes and resources of over 4000 enterprises in industry.

Apr 14, 2010 – Mr. GOUTHAM REDDY (Director, Ramky Group): We would like our rag pickers to enhance their quality of life by becoming waste management service providers rather REEVES: Goutham Reddy is director of the Ramky Group, a big waste management corporation headquartered in South India.

Apr 22, 2010 – After releasing impressive first quarter results earlier this week, Wolverine management revised its 2010 forecast by an additional $30 million.  Goals for the year include growing Wolverine’s wholesale operation at twice the industry rate, boosting consumer-direct sales.

Apr 29, 2010 – All Star Sustainability award winners are selected by the Apparel editorial staff from nominations by industry executives, and waste and increase the use of environmentally-friendly products while continuing to produce the most innovative athletic footwear and apparel in Nike.

Waste from Shoe Supply Chain


Material Input and Waste Diagram

The largest quantity of waste is generated at the cutting process. E.g. waste rate from cutting of natural leather (e.g. cow hide) = 25 – 35% (14th Meeting of UNIDO Leather Panel, 2000) a leather skin is never homogenous and rectangular the quality of the leather at the side of the skin is generally poor.

The shape of the pieces to be cut is scarcely the same and the production delay does not allow the optimization of their arrangement for textiles or fabric, cutting waste is generally lower because the material is more homogenous = 20 – 25%

Waste from upper = 132.6 tons/M pairs

Waste from sole = 118 tons/ M pairs

Adhesives, oils, solvents = 4.6 tons/ M pairs

Household type waste = 10.8 tons / M pairs

Sample Waste Inventory from a Puma Factory


% waste

Leather, Natural


Leather, Synthetic










Inner Box


Corrugated Outer Box


2008 PUMA SAFE E-KPI survey

Other source of waste in Footwear

Injected outsoleThermoplastic material can flow out between two parts of mold due to pressure The mold contains a tube through which the material is injected.  The “carrots” are considered waste Purges of materials from machine during turn over of operations / shutdown
Sole preparationBuffing/roughing dust before cementing
Components and accessories (eyelets, laces, etc)Unused, old stock written off from inventory and become waste;

Reduce:  purchase “Just in Time”;

Materials and supply packing wastePaper or plastic wrappings of materials, containers, chemical cans and drums, cartons, wooden pallets, etc.

Reduction: Returnable and reusable containers can be offered by suppliers

Residual chemicals, maintenance and housekeepingworn out spare parts spent lube oil (e.g. cutting machines, etc.)

workshop rubbish and dust

Integrated Waste Management





-Energy Recovery


Footwear Wastage Management in Bangladesh

Though proper wastage management in appeared to be economical for any industrial production, practice is not been so familiar in footwear industries in Bangladesh. Only a few leading companies introduced this approach for some of their production facilities.

Wastage and disposal methods

Leather Materials: wastage from shoe production often reused in sandal manufacturing where small pieces are required than shoe. Small pieces are also used to produce leather goods (key ring).

Paper: thin paper disposals are often used as filler between insole and outsole. For this they are cut in to small pieces.

Synthetic materials: paper industries take charge of these disposals which includes different fabrics and fabrics materials, foam, threads, etc.

Cutting dice and sole moulds: These are made from aluminum alloy, so they are melting to reproduce those parts.

Last: damaged PU lasts can’t be used to produce new lasts as they result in low durability. So they used in production of other PU products.

PU sole: they are reused as soling material in injection moulded shoes.

TPR sole: these are cut into small granules and mixed with fresh granules in a ratio of 80:20 to produce TPR soles

Moreover, some companies sales their rejected shoes in comparatively low price

Footwear manufacturing wastes – Waste classification and management:

Process waste

Waste directly linked with the footwear manufacturing process

Maintenance waste

Waste generated in the factories

Waste management practice

Technology, specific treatment or way of management applied to the waste (for example reusing, recycling, Incineration, etc.)

Test period

Consecutive period of production about which all the required data are collected.

Waste quantity

For one type of waste, quantity of waste generated during a given test period when manufacturing a specified

Final product or group of final products.

Controlled landfill

Landfill which emissions to the environment are controlled.

Special destruction treatment

Destruction treatment which is not incineration, neither recycling nor land filling.


Process steps The footwear manufacturing process steps to take into account to quantify the wastes are given in Table 1.

Table  — Footwear manufacturing steps to be taken into account

Parts of the process

Steps to take into account


Storage of raw materials

Design and development

cutting of materials

unused samples

Upper manufacture

cutting of upper material

cutting of lining material


cementing / stitching

Manufacture of other


cutting of insole material

cutting of insock material

cutting of sole material

sole / heel manufacture or preparation

adhesive priming of soles and heels


all steps of assembly


all steps of finishing

Storage of finished



Maintenance of production


tasks generating wastes

Waste classification list

The wastes to be taken into account shall be, at least, those specified in Table .

Waste codes

List of possible wastes

Process wastes

Upper material cutting waste

Insole material cutting waste

Sole material cutting waste

Injection moulding wastes


Dust or sludge (roughing)


Other process wastes


Rest of inks, varnishes … (non halogenated solvent based)


Rest of inks, varnishes … (water based)


Rest of adhesives (non halogenated solvent based)


Rest of adhesives (water based)


Used solvents (alone or mixed)


Sub-standard shoes

Packaging wastes


Cardboard packaging: shoe boxes, packing cases, sample boxes, centre tubes

from textile rolls


Plastic cones and bobbins


Plastic bags and films


Jars, tins & drums (plastic) cleaned


Jars, tins & drums (plastic) containing < 3% product residue


Jars, tins & drums (plastic) containing > 3% product residue


Wooden palettes


Jars, tins & drums (metal) cleaned


Jars, tins & drums (metal) containing < 3% product residue


Jars, tins & drums (metal) containing > 3% product residue


Other metallic packaging waste (aluminium center tubes for textile rolls …)

Other wastes (maintenance, etc.)


Hydraulic oil


Motor oil


Damaged or obsolete lasts (plastic)


Used air filters


Out of use equipment


Paper: office, computer


Damaged or obsolete knives, damaged or obsolete lasts (aluminium)


Canteen waste


Wastes similar to domestic waste (drinking cans, workshop sweepings …)

NOTE In the EU legislative documents, no waste classification is specifically created for the footwear industry: Some Wastes from the footwear industry are not listed in the European Waste Catalogue 1. CEN/TC 309 will reconsider the coding in this table when the European Waste Catalogue includes wastes regarding Specifically the footwear industry.

Waste management practices

The practices listed in Table are usual waste management practices to the footwear industry.

Table  — Usual waste management practices

Waste management practices


Reuse as it is


Recycle within or outside the company (specify)


Incinerate with energy recovery


Special destruction treatments (specify)


Controlled landfill


Incinerate without energy recovery


Othersb (specify)


a For example: chemical destruction, biological destruction

b For example: sell as raw materia 


The steps shall be the following:

-Waste quantification: calculate the quantity of the wastes generated during the test period (following the

List presented in Table 2). For each waste, calculate the ratio quantity/number of pairs produced during

the test period in kg/1000 pairs.

– Determine the average mass of the pair of shoe which is representative of the specified final product,

group of final products or the whole production being analyzed during the test period.

– Use of waste management practices: for each waste, calculate the part treated according to each waste

Management practices given in Table 3. Fill the table like Table 4.

– Provide the results: if practices coded «B», «D» or «G» are used, specify in technical terms which

Practice is followed.

Calculation methods

Waste quantity

The wastes included are those generated when producing a defined part of the production of a factory. For example, it can be one type of shoe, one production technology or it could be the whole production. All waste quantities, even liquid wastes, are converted into kilograms. Then the ratio «kg of waste/1000 pairs» shall be calculated. The test period shall be maximum 12 months.

Waste management

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