Timberland will be debuting a new line of boots this fall that will feature soles manufactured from recycled tires, a move the company says will not only keep tires out of landfills but will also save the manufacturing of 42 tons of virgin rubber.
The bootmaker has partnered with Green Rubber to acquire the recycled material and will be producing 200,000 shoes covering two different product lines. The new shoes will be a part of the company’s Earthkeeper line.
The soles will incorporate some virgin material, resulting in an outsole that is made of about 42 percent recycled tire rubber. Timberland is the first footwear manufacturer to use this technology.
The two companies originally met at a rubber conference and are looking at ways to build Green Rubber factories closer to the boots’ production facilities. Currently, the soles are shipped 1,600 miles from Malaysia to Timberland’s factory in China.
While 75 percent of tires are recycled or used for fuel, those that are discarded into landfills cause several environmental problems. They tend to attract vermin and mosquitoes because they collect pools of water. Tires are also prone to burning, and these fires produce black smoke and are difficult to extinguish because of the oil in the tires.
Timberland General Manager John Healy addressed the new boots saying, “Green Rubber is not more expensive than conventional rubber. There is no added cost. Many people have found that when you choose a recycled product it is cheaper than the virgin materials.”