Bioplastic, Company initiatives

PUMA debuts biodegradable shoes

Sports products company PUMA is launching in February 2013 worldwide its collection of shoes, apparel and accessories that are either biodegradable or recyclable when consumers return their worn-out products to PUMA’s Bring Me Back Program.

The InCycle collection are said to be 100% Cradle-to-Cradle Basic certified. The collection includes lifestyle sneaker Basket (biodegradable), track jacket (recyclable), shirts (biodegradable) and a backpack (recyclable). PUMA said it is aiming to increase the number of of their products made of more sustainable materials.

The PUMA InCycle collection uses biodegradable polymers, recycled polyesters and organic cotton.

Under the biodegradable products, the upper part of PUMA’s biodegradable sneaker “Basket” is said to be made of a mix of cotton and linen, while the sole is composed of the biodegradable plastic APINAT Bio.

Now, doing some research on this plastic, Italy-based Api Spa is the manufacturer of this bio-based thermoplastic compounds. Under the company’s APINAT bioplastic line includes hard or soft grades biodegradable bioplastics from synthetic raw materials (APINAT B) and biodegradable bioplastics from renewable materials (APINAT BR) with renewable content of up to around 60%.

FYI, I always come back to my cheat sheet from University of Utrecht’s 2009 bioplastic report and in this chart shown below, it tells me which are fully or partially biodegradable plastics that could be made either from synthetic or bio-based materials.

Api claims that APINAT Bio is the first and only line of soft, biodegradable elastomers available in the world and is covered by an international patent. API vice president of marketing and sales director Lorenzo Brunetti said PUMA has the exclusive use of APINAT Bio in the footwear sector.

Although last month, another APINAT biodegradable sole is found on Stella McCartney’s Fall/Winter 2012 lineup of pumps and boots.

That is because the Stella McCartney brand and PUMA are both owned by the PPR Group, which introduced early this year its 5-year environmental and social targets for its luxury, sports and lifestyle brands that also include Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Volcom, Cobra, Electric, Tretorn and Fnac.

PPR said its priority will focus on the sourcing and suppliers of its raw materials and their subsequent compliance to the company’s policy and guidelines.

The blog previously mentioned Gucci, which also launched several lines of shoes with bio-based soles and shoelaces as well as biodegradable and renewable-based sunglasses. Gucci introduced this summer its “Sustainable Soles”edition of women’s and men’s shoes as part of Gucci’s Prefall 2012 collection.

Gucci Sustainable Soles
Gucci Sustainable Soles

 Gucci did not indicate what type of biodegradable plastic the company used or who is/are the manufacturer/s. Gucci and its eyewear supplier Safilo also launched this summer a biodegradable sunglasses made from what they called “Liquid Wood” which is a material composed of wood fiber/lignin and natural wax.

Another Gucci eyewear line called Eyeweb is made with injection-molded bio-based sunglasses composed of castor oil-based polyamides. As I’ve said before, Arkema is the only company that I know supplying castor-based polyamides for use in sunglass and eyewear frames. If anybody knew other suppliers, you can just comment on this post.

Stella McCartney also has her line of eco-friendly eyewear launched late last year which feature bioplastics made from castor oilseeds and citric acid. The formula, according to the company, “combines 50% natural and renewable resources composed of two acetate models and three metal models.”

Back to PUMA’s biodegradable soles, API said its APINAT Bio line is certified with international biodegradable standards such as EN 13432/EN 14995 in Europe, and ASTM D6400 in the US.

In PUMA’s recyclable products, its track jacket including the zippers are 98% made from recycled polyester derived from used PET bottles.

The InCycle PUMA Track jacket, once it has been returned by the consumer and collected through PUMA’s Bring Me Back program, can be turned back into polyester granulate which then serves as a secondary raw material for other products made of recycled polyester, reducing the need for crude oil, energy and the amount of waste created.

The PUMA Backpack is made of polypropylene and will be returned to the original manufacturer in China after collection, who will then produce new backpacks from the recycled polypropylene.

Finally, here is a cool picture from PUMA on how a biodegrading shoe looks like…

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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