Legs of boy in Adidas shoes playing soccer.

There’s more than one way to reduce the size of a landfill, and many consumer brands are coming up with creative solutions. Here are four products that have taken a page from sustainable infrastructure in order to reduce the community waste stream.

1. Sea to Shoe

Making running shoes from ocean plastic is the goal of Adidas’ new product line, Parley. In partnership with the group, Parley for the Oceans, Adidas is taking on plastic pollution by recovering marine debris for use in its Boost collection. Approximately 95 percent of these shoes’ upper material is made from this waste, recycling 11 plastic bottles per pair. The company plans to make a million of them this year.

2. Airplane to Soccer Field

How do you repurpose leather, create a new market for sustainability in developing countries and make an airplane literally lighter? Southwest Airlines found a way by completely redesigning its 737 fleet. The company partnered with Looptworks to replace 43 acres of used leather seat coverings with more environmentally friendly materials, reducing the weight of a single aircraft by 600 pounds. The excess leather then went to a new initiative called LUV Seat, which works with communities in Kenya and Malawi to manufacture new bags, shoes, coats, soccer balls and more from this waste.

3. Wheel to Sole

While Adidas creates recycled shoe uppers, Timberland has been doing the same to its bottoms. In the first collaboration of its kind, this well-known outdoor and tire brand teamed up with tire maker Omni United on a program that recycles the rubber from old Timberland car tires into an outsole for its footwear. Retailers carrying Timberland tires set aside used product brought in from customers and work with Omni to collect and break it down into crumb rubber. Timberland outsole manufacturers then reclaim it. It’s both a benefit to Timberland’s resources and the surrounding environment.

4. Battery to Battery

Not every consumer product is a clear candidate for recycling, but there are solutions available to keep toxic materials like batteries from ending up in a landfill — or even allow them to come full circle. Energizer has recently run with this concept, upcycling used versions of its batteries into EcoAdvanced, the world’s first battery made with 4 percent recycled battery material. It’s an excellent example of the circular economy at the consumer level, and proof that when Energizer says it just keeps going and going, they obviously mean it.

Landfills shouldn’t be taken for granted, and making them smaller isn’t insurmountable. From a car-making factory all the way to a pair of AAs, those that make the best of waste are part of an inclusive and welcoming community.

Learn more about waste sorting and recycling in the video below.

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