A few months back we had Julie from our local garbage disposal company come talk to us about ways to reduce waste in our shop. In general we are doing the right things, but we asked her for ideas on the leather and soling scraps. She gave us a couple leads and we have been following up.
For the leather scraps we started donating them to the SCRAP organization in Portland. They are very excited to get the leather as they have lots of teachers, students, and artists that can use the leather for projects.
For the soling we have had a tougher road. We tried really hard to get Nike to take our soling through their Reuse-A-Shoe program, but we were firmly turned down with a form letter. We also contacted a local tire recycling plant, but legally they are only allowed to work with tires. So we were at a lost and were tossing the soling into the trash again. But SCRAP came to the rescue! They told us they would love to take the soling scrap as well. It is a cool material that could be used in all sorts of art projects. So if you see a fantastic sculpture at a Portland area elementary school fair, don't be surprised if Soft Star soles are holding it up.
Another cool development in our efforts to reduce / reuse / recycle is with our packing materials. A couple months ago one of our local independent book stores, The Book Bin, told us they are always looking for ways to get rid of the paper their books come shipped in. We told them we would be happy to help out! We now use their waste paper to pack your beautiful shoes and keep them from getting beat up in the mail. It's good for everybody involved.