Sneaker Recycler Switches to Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging firm PAC Worldwide has joined forces with footwear recycler GotSneakers.com to develop a customized solution for the sale of pre-owned kicks.
Along with GotSneakers’ retail e-commerce arm, SneakerCycle.com, they teamed up to develop a circular process to collect and sell secondhand sneakers. Seattle-based PAC is manufacturing the recyclable packaging used by consumers sending their used shoes for sale or recycling through GotSneakers, which fields 300-400 bags daily at its Miami headquarters.
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GotSneakers pays people to send back their sneakers packaged up in PAC’s 6-by-9-inch to 24-by-36-inch Polyjacket mailers. The sneaker collector worked with PAC to create a mailer recycling solution. It recruited a third-party recycler that will convert them into building materials and other second-use products.
GotSneakers ran into bag breakage and quality control problems when it briefly worked with an offshore polybag supplier before reinvesting in PAC’s polybag solution. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome them back,” PAC Worldwide president Thomas Parenteau said. “Our shared commitment to advancing sustainability and corporate social responsibility make them a great partner for us.” The 48-year-old packaging solutions firm employs more than 1,800 in the U.S., Mexico and Malaysia.
GotSneakers co-founder and chief operating officer Eric Mesa expects the transition to eco-conscious packaging will support the company’s growth. Over the past two years, GotSneakers has processed 150 percent more footwear volume year over year and expects 2023 to deliver similar growth.
The 40-person team has recycled or repurposed more than 3 million pairs of sneakers over the past seven years, equivalent to replacing the 90 million pounds of CO2 emissions generated during the manufacturing of new footwear. GotSneakers’ retail arm is eBay’s No. 1 athletic shoe reseller, with more than 500 pairs of shoes added to its store each day and 40,000 styles available at any given time.
“Our mission to reduce the the number of shoes that end up in landfills each year and extend the life of footwear through resale and recycling resonates with people,” Mesa said. “By compensating people for their used sneakers and quantifying the impact they are having on our environment, we are inspiring and motivating others to do well by doing good.”