• Nike has launched a search for new innovations that will help it take a step closer to a more sustainable future.
  • Participants can either develop a new solution to advance the physical footwear recycling process or design new products using Nike Grind materials – a palette of premium recycled materials recovered from used footwear and manufacturing scrap.
Nike has been recycling sneakers since 1990, recovering more than 30m pairs and creating more than 1bn square feet of sport surfaces around the world with Nike Grind

Nike has been recycling sneakers since 1990, recovering more than 30m pairs and creating more than 1bn square feet of sport surfaces around the world with Nike Grind

US sporting goods giant Nike has launched a search for new ideas to help it create better products but with less waste.

"Together we can make real strides toward a circular future, where every molecule of waste – from recycled shoes to manufacturing scrap – is utilised in new products," the firm says.

The Nike Circular Innovation Challenge consists of two distinct but connected calls for innovation: the Nike Design with Grind Challenge and the Nike Material Recovery Challenge.

The Nike Design with Grind Challenge, wants new solutions for Nike Grind materials – a palette of premium recycled materials recovered from used footwear and manufacturing scrap which generally fall into two categories: single materials and composite materials.

Single materials are material streams comprised of one material type, such as rubber, VEA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, and full grain leather. Composite materials, meanwhile, consist of two or more different material types, including laminated EVA foam, laminated polyurethane foam, mixed apparel textiles, mixed footwear textiles footwear fibre "fluff", and coated leather and synthetic leather.

Nike has been recycling sneakers since 1990, recovering more than 30m pairs and creating more than 1bn square feet of sport surfaces around the world with Nike Grind.

One grand prize winner will receive US$30,000, and up to four more top innovators will receive $5,000 grants for further development of their concept. All promising proposals will be considered for further partnership with Nike.

Meanwhile, the second option is the Nike Material Recovery Challenge, which is seeking innovations that can substantially advance the physical footwear recycling process. Nike says solutions should complement or replace existing process steps to recover purer material outputs than are currently possible, and should represent a significant advance in the field of footwear recycling.

Promising solutions will be considered for implementation at a Nike footwear recovery site with challenge participants competing for a $50,000 cash award.

"At Nike, we believe it is not enough to adapt to what the future may bring – we're creating the future we want to see through sustainable innovation," says CEO Mark Parker.

Click here for more information. The deadline for submissions is 1 May.