SINGAPORE — September 25, 2020 — Materials science company Dow and national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) today announced a pioneering partnership to catalyze circular economy solutions in Singapore.
Drawing on its technological and R&D expertise and track record of collaborative solutions, Dow will work with Sport Singapore to transform shoes contributed by members of the community into jogging tracks, fitness corners and playgrounds.
This project is a first-of-its-kind in Asia Pacific.
From September 26, members of the public can give a second life to their used sports shoes by contributing to building new sports surfaces and infrastructure rather than throwing them away.
The “Others see an old shoe. We see the future.” project aims to recycle 300,000 pairs of used sports shoes and divert them away from the landfill over the next three years. A shoe collection drive is scheduled to launch on World Environmental Health Day on September 26, which aims to raise global awareness about today’s most pressing environmental health concerns.
The public can choose to drop their used sports shoes at any of the 30 collection points including participating ActiveSG sport centres & stadiums, Decathlon stores, JD Sports stores and more than 30 education institutions (for students & staff only) all over Singapore. The collection drive will end on November 30.
SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin, said: “This project demonstrates how we can all play a meaningful part in workable real-world solutions that champion sustainability in our fields of endeavour. The partnership with Dow has brought ideas and expertise together to encourage collective responsibility in the community to drive positive change — taking the effort to recycle your worn-out shoes can not only contribute to new infrastructure but reduce the load on landfills. We hope that this collaboration will bring about ripple effects with more partners in promoting shared aspirations in sustainability through sport.”
“As we move away from a make-use-dispose society into one where circularity becomes ever more relevant today, collaborating with partners across the value chain such as Sport Singapore and the community is critical. We all have a role to play if we want a better outcome for the environment,” said Jon Penrice, Dow president for Asia Pacific. “This project aligns well with our recently announced sustainability target to Stop the Waste where we will collaborate with like-minded partners to increase global recycling, enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through partnerships by 2030.”
This circular economy project collects used sports shoes — including school shoes and football boots without metal studs — from the general public. The rubberized soles and midsoles are then ground into rubber granules that are used as a material to build the sport infrastructure, partially replacing hazardous recycled tires. A water-based and solvent-free binder technology then binds the granules together. The result is environmentally friendlier and safer sports infrastructure for users delivered through partners collaborating for a more sustainable future.
A pilot project to test the feasibility of using recycled sports shoes to partially replace recycled tires was conducted for an initial 200 square meter area — approximately 100 meters 2-lane jogging track — at the yet to be unveiled Kallang Football Hub.
A team of R&D experts from Dow and Dow’s business partner B.T. Sports working in Singapore perfected the process over a period of six months before the pilot project was completed earlier this year.
According to a report by market research company Statista, an estimated 22 million pairs of shoes are sold in Singapore yearly. Statistics from the National Environment Agency indicate that 161,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste were disposed of in Singapore in 2019, of which, only 4 percent was recycled.
Posted September 29, 2020