03 Jun Industrial symbiosis in the circular economy
Life Reweart aims to promote the production of circular and sustainable footwear by
sustainable footwear production by applying innovative techniques to reduce its environmental impact.
One of the pillars of the circular economy is to establish relations of industrial symbiosis with the rest of the actors involved in the manufacturing process and distribution of footwear.
Industrial symbiosis objective of LIFE Reweart:
Optimize our resources and promote the local circular economy.
Creating synergies at the local and regional levels between the different participants in the manufacturing process has several benefits:
● It strengthens the local economy by working with local suppliers and companies.
It allows us to optimise the resources used by sharing or accessing new resources from our partners.
● Reduces the environmental impact of transport.
● Reduces raw material costs significantly.
Here’s how Life Reweart fosters industrial symbiosis every step of the way.
LIFE Reweart: an example of local industrial symbiosis
At Life Reweart, we believe that to make a positive impact on the world, we must first make a positive impact at home.
Contributing to de-globalization from the local level
In order to choose the most suitable suppliers, with whom to establish close partnerships, a number of factors were taken into account including:
- Supplier values (social responsibility, local development, etc).
- Origin of the raw materials they work with and composition of materials
- Management of waste generated
- The origin of the energy they consume
- Certifications and traceability of materials
- Use of more circular materials
- Interest in the optimisation of packaging and transport
- Proximity to Vesica Piscis facilities (to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transport).
In this way, through this project, links have been established with local suppliers and companies aligned with Life Weart’s sustainability values.
To give some examples, a company called RBfibres receives textiles from the LIFE Reweart project to transform them into new reused fibre.
In the case of EVA soles and scraps, a link has been created with ANALCO to collect these spent materials, as long as the requirements defined in this link are met.
The sole material is reused by Inyectados Zamora and the insoles by Pegacork.
The rest of the suppliers can be seen in the following map.
Industrial symbiosis: Resource optimisation
Almost all the selected suppliers are located locally, which allows the creation of short supply and transport chains. There are only two suppliers that are outside the local environment: Portugal because that is where the cork for the insoles is manufactured and Italy because of a lack of local supply related to ECOTPU pellets.
This translates into greater control over the supply chain, better traceability, reduced lead times due to the transport of goods and minimising the impact on the carbon footprint.
The waste generated by the manufacture of footwear can become the raw material to be used for the manufacture of a new component or part of the footwear. And how is this developed in the project? Let’s see an example of the recovery of the textile of the slippers:
Albero i Sempere S.L. provides the non-woven fabric (made from natural and recycled fibers from the scraps and slippers from the production of the LIFE Reweart) for the manufacture of the estrobel plant.
In turn, Hilos y Cintas S.L from Elche manufactures the laces with recycled yarn provided by the project through Ferre y Belda Llorens. This same recycled textile will later be made into hats and various accessories.
This is just one example of how industrial symbiosis, at a local level, can help to optimise resources during the footwear manufacturing process.
Industrial symbiosis: cost savings
This symbiosis between local companies also translates into significant cost savings for all participants.
Especially in terms of transport of goods and merchandise, waste management and purchase of new raw materials.
By reducing travel distances, we manage to significantly reduce the environmental impact on the final cost of manufacturing, reducing our carbon footprint. In the case of LIFE Reweart, this cost-saving is achieved with the sole, but with textile recycling we have not managed to reduce more than the purchase of raw materials, as the recycling of this type of textile is still higher today.
Thanks to a good choice of suppliers and strategic circular links, aligned with the fundamental principles of Life Reweart, a positive impact on the environment and the local economy (two basic pillars in a circular economy) is being achieved.