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How we’re continuing to close the loop.

Dear community, 

In the beginning, we started with the radical idea that plastic bottles could become shoes. Since that moment we’ve been on a continuous quest for better, and over the past year, we made some serious progress. We’ve continued to innovate through our materials, design and production on our journey to a zero-waste future.

Our fully owned factory continues to be a model for modern manufacturing, drastically reducing excess waste and overproduction which is typical in the retail industry. We avoid creating thousands of pounds of waste each year compared to traditional cut-and-sew methods by using knit-to-shape practices. More than 125 million single-use plastic water bottles have been transformed into our signature thread. 400,000 pounds of ocean-bound marine plastic have been turned into the thread we use for our bags and accessories.

We have a lot to be proud of, but we’re not stopping there. Last March, we set ambitious goals for the next three years. Before getting into our progress, we have to say that circularity is challenging. If closing the loop was easy, everyone would do it. But we’re continuing to search for solutions, and we’re excited to share that we’re well on our way to achieving many of our goals this year. 

Our recycling pilot program. 

In 2021, we recycled over 20,000 pairs of shoes through our pilot program. With the help of our Sustainability Council, we worked to develop the infrastructure and found recycling solutions and partners to keep waste out of landfills. 

In 2022, we’re prototyping how we can use twice recycled thread recovered from our recycling program into new Rothy’s products. We’re also looking forward to launching our ongoing recycling takeback program. Stay tuned for more details.  

Recycling shoes is complex—but it’s not impossible. We’ve learned a ton through our pilot program and look forward to sharing our best practices with the industry in order to achieve the scale needed to solve the problem. 

A zero-waste factory. 

We’re proud to own and operate a state-of-the-art factory in Dongguan, China which adheres to the highest ethical and environmental standards. 

Our factory team has pioneered low-waste practices, and we’re working through cutting-edge developments in sustainable innovation. We can’t wait to show you what’s next.

This year at our factory, we’ll achieve zero waste certification through the third-party organization, TRUE, LEED green building certifications and continue increasing our onsite renewable energy. 

Full circular production. 

Our goal for next year remains our most ambitious. By 2023, not only will our products be crafted with majority recycled, twice-recycled and bio-based materials, but every single style we make will have an end-of-wear solution.

We’re excited about our progress to date and we’re thrilled to have you along for the ride as we push the industry forward towards a closed-loop future.

— Saskia van Gendt, Head of Sustainability

To learn more about what sustainability means to us, head to our sustainability page for the details on our materials, manufacturing and more. 

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