Finland-based sneaker company Rens is putting its best foot forward in the fight against food waste, unsustainable fashion, and planet-warming pollution.
How Rens’ sneakers help deal with food waste
In the U.S., around one-third of food meant for human consumption is never eaten. And all of that food waste emits an equivalent of 170 million metric tons of carbon pollution each year, according to the EPA. Once in the landfill, the decomposing food starts releasing methane, which is a planet-warming pollutant that, in the short term, is many times stronger than carbon gas.
To be “sustainable by default,” Rens had to rethink everything from materials to shipping.
The old coffee grounds and recycled plastic pellets are combined in a low-energy process to create a polymer thread nicknamed “coffee yarn.”
The end result is a quick-drying, antibacterial, odor-fighting shoe (thanks to the coffee grounds) that is flexible, durable, and waterproof (thanks to the recycled plastic).
Rens also ships each pair of shoes in a 100% recycled cardboard container that doubles as a shoebox, cutting down on packaging and shipping weight. The company makes use of warehouses in Europe, Asia, and North America to ensure it can ship efficiently while still having a minimal impact on the environment.
The clothing industry is a major source of harmful emissions. According to Fashion on Climate, the fashion industry emitted 2.1 billion metric tons of planet-warming gases in 2018.
And that number is expected to keep growing. Seventy percent of those pollutants come from “upstream activities” like raw material production and processing, according to Fashion Revolution.