It’s Zero Waste Week this week. A time for brands to dig deep and find ways of reducing landfill waste in their production. It’s also, if we were more cynically inclined, a time for brands to jump onboard the sustainability trend and leverage some capital out of the campaign.
So, which camp does Merrell’s new Scrap collection lie in? The outdoor footwear specialist (and lately, fashion enthusiast) has put together unique editions of three of its signature styles: the Jungle Moc, Moab 3, and Moab Speed. Each is layered with excess materials from Merrell’s production line to create a one-of-a-kind design on every item. No two shoes are the same. And a whole load of scraps have been saved from the bin.
The pieces are arranged in a sort of haphazard way, and kept together on the upper thanks to a computerized grid stitch. Each style has its own color palette. The Jungle Moc is black, white, gray and brown; the Moab 3 is all stone and beige; and the Moab Speed is a more multi-colored affair.
While these kicks standout for their use of unused scraps, what really got us excited is what’s underneath all that. Because Merrell hasn’t just glued a load of pieces onto an otherwise unsustainable shoe. Take a look at the components list, and you’ll see an array of recycled and innovative materials.
From the heel pull tab webbing to the laces, mesh lining to the footbed cover, there’s 100 percent recycled goodness at every turn. The Moab options have a Vibram EcoStep outsole made with 30 percent recycled rubber. And the Jungle Moc features a BLOOM midsole foam that’s made from algae biomass that cleans water during its production process.
Regina Hill, marketing manager at Merrell, says, “the Scrap collection diverts excess materials from the waste stream, allowing us to invite more consumers outdoors to champion exploration while considering their environmental impact in a way that makes them look cool, feel good, and do good.”
But how much waste is really saved in these kinds of limited edition runs? Really, if brands are looking to go full zero waste, they need to find ways of reducing excess from the very beginning. When Merrell becomes zero waste, there won’t be a need for the Scrap collection, because the scraps would never have been created in the first place.
So, which camp do we put Merrell’s Scrap collection in this Zero Waste Week? Lift the attention-grabbing scrap lid, and there are plenty of Earth-friendly choices to shout about. The brand is making progress thanks to its This Is Home campaign, which includes goals like reducing packaging, waste waste and samples, using organic, recycled or renewable materials in all its products, and saving 300,000 pairs of shoes from landfill. All this by 2025. We’re watching.