In February 2018, Nike invited submissions for inventive responses to two pivotal sustainability questions: What can be made from footwear material waste? And how can the footwear recycling process be improved to ensure that higher quality, more versatile resources are created from footwear-related waste?
In reply to the challenge, Nike received more than 600 applications from 58 countries. Thirty-five of those were selected as finalists to create either new products using Nike Grind, a palette of premium materials (rubber, foam, fiber, leather and textile blends) recovered in the footwear manufacturing and recycling process, or to improve upon the recycling process itself. Five groups won the Design with Grind Challenge, and one group was awarded for its Material Recovery fix.
DESIGN WITH GRIND CHALLENGE WINNERS GALLERY
MATERIAL RECOVERY WINNER
Brian Riise and John Gysbers (of SuMaRec) identified two new phases that could be added to the standard Nike Grind material recovery process: an additional material separation step that divides outputs based on their weight, and an extra material-grinding step. Together, these steps have potential to improve the purity of the material outputs that come from the Nike Grind process.
Solutions from both the Design with Grind and the Material Recovery Challenges are being considered for further development in partnership with Nike, Inc.
Find out more about what Nike is doing to close the loop on waste here.