Environment

First shoe waste recycling ecosystem in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Ecoknights, Dow, and Life Line Clothing Malaysia are partnering to create the first shoe waste recycling ecosystem in Malaysia.

This two-month campaign, dubbed as Old Soles New Life, is the first phase of a project to achieve a permanent circular model of recycling shoe waste in Malaysia.

The public will be invited to recycle their used and unwanted shoes responsibly by dropping them into any of the shoe waste bins with distinct red lids and white bodies around Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

“This campaign will bring the concepts of recycling and sustainability accessible to everyone.

“It emphasises that anyone can do their part by simply dropping their used shoes in the allocated
shoe bins to be recycled into sports infrastructures which can be used again,” said Paul Fong, Country Director for Dow Malaysia and Singapore.

“In addition, environmentally-friendly technologies will be used in the builds which will be safer for people and the environment.”

Rubberised soles to be upcycled for infrastructure construction

The soles (rubberized parts) of public-collection shoes will be ground into rubber granule which will be used in infrastructure construction particularly sports surfaces.

By doing so, it helps to reduce the current standard use of hazardous recycled tyres.

The recycled shoe materials will be bound using Dow’s water-based and solvent-free binder technology in a playground built at Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Tadom (A), Banting, Selangor, an indigenous school that was severely damaged by a flood in December 2021.

When compared to traditional sports and playground surfaces, the result is both safer and more environmentally friendly.

Partnership to drive sustainability through public participation

Dr Yasmin Rasyid, Founder and President of EcoKnights, stated, “This partnership is a good
example of public-private collaborations to drive sustainability through active public
participation.

“We hope that this effort, among others, will open the path for demonstrating how
waste can be reused for other purposes and, ultimately, how the circular economy works.”

“Our goal is seeing a significant behavioural shift among Malaysians in terms of how
we consume materials, how we treat and discard waste, and, ultimately, how we reuse materials
for a better or different purpose.

“This is one way EcoKnights is driving the urgency of adopting a sustainable lifestyle to transition into a carbon-neutral nation.”


Mr Dale Warren, CEO of Life Line Clothing Malaysia, said in a statement on Wednesday “Our
goal is to divert as many shoes away from landfills as possible and that can be achievable by
working with members of the community and corporations who are aligned towards the same
goal.”

The Malaysia Investment Development Authority estimates that the amount of solid waste
generated in 2021 will be 38,427 tonnes per day, with 82.5 per cent disposed of in landfills.

Because shoes have a shorter life expectancy, landfills are seeing an increase in shoe waste. This
could be the answer to addressing the limited space for landfills and reducing the environmental
impact for a better Malaysia.

He continued, “This initiative could help play a major role in implementing shoe recycling in
Malaysia and we are excited about the outcome of this collaboration.

“We strive to develop and incorporate innovative technologies into our daily practice, and this tried-and-true concept is one we are eager to put into action.”

The Malaysia Investment Development Authority estimates that the amount of solid waste
generated in 2021 will be 38,427 tonnes per day, with 82.5 per cent disposed of in landfills.

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