SEOUL, South Korea—When taking the first step on the journey toward a more sustainable future, it's important to put your best foot forward. But what about the next step, or the one after that?
Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. is doing its part to make the road to reducing its carbon footprint a little more comfortable—every step of the way.
The Seongnam-si, South Korea-based tire maker has collaborated with a local leather shoes brand, YASE, to embark on the project "Zero—Leave Nothing Behind" with the mission of creating eco-friendly shoes made from recycled tires.
Jimmy Kwon, vice president of Hankook Tire's Brand Lab, said the companies came together because of their shared vision of reducing their environmental impact.
"As sustainability is a core value and key agenda for us, we have taken the topic of tire recycling as one of our top objectives each year," he said in an email to Rubber News.
Hankook's collaboration with YASE kicked off Aug. 31 with the release of the shoe collection, which includes four shoe styles—Chelsea boots, square toe Chelsea boots, derby shoes and square toe derby shoes—and one comfort insole.
The partners are in discussion for further collaboration, including the potential release of running shoes that originally were slated to be unveiled in October.
Hankook recycled 50 tires that were processed into outsoles for 2,000 pairs of shoes, which means a single tire can be turned into 40 pairs of shoes, Kwon said. The company also manufactured 100 insoles in total.
"According to the Korea National Institute of Forest Science, 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions is reduced by recycling 50 used tires, which weigh approximately 1.5 tons. This is equivalent to planting 425 pine trees," he said.
"This is not a small amount, as a 20-year-old tree consumes around 6.7 kg of carbon dioxide emissions."
Kwon said the shoes are "hard-wearing and robust," as their soles are made from Hankook tires.
"As a tire manufacturer, we have the utmost pride in our product, and as a result of aggressive investment in R&D, we consistently develop and adopt high-quality materials and cutting-edge technologies to our products," he said.