“Green shoes” project takes a big step forward for sustainability movement

Americans hoping to leave less of an ecological "footprint" may be in luck, thanks to the efforts of a green-focused North Carolina entrepreneur.

The "Remyxx," created by Gary Gagnon, is the world's first 100 percent recyclable shoe. By creating a product made from a mix of plastics, polyresin canvas and rubber, the maker of the Remyxx hopes to stem the tide of footwear heading to landfills worldwide. According to charity organization Soles4Souls, over 300 million pairs of shoes were thrown away in 2011.

In an interview with green fashion website Ecouterre, Gagnon said that the project began after he took his family's trash and recyclables outside one day. Upon discovering the shoes of his wife and two children, he lamented the fact that footwear was not easily recyclable. Once the idea began to germinate, he knew that it could only thrive with an equally compelling message.

"Once I decided I was going to make Remyxx cool sneakers, I wanted to make a sneaker that is like no other in footwear, a sneaker that is completely 100 percent recyclable," he said in the interview. "So, as I began in 2009, I started with the message first and the look later. My message, 'keep it out of the earth,' was the basis for developing Remyxx."

Emblazoned across the shoe is "#5," a typographical symbol meaning that it can be recycled alongside plastic food containers and other items that fit inside that recycling category. Gagnon went on to caution that most trash services won't recognize the effort yet, and will more than likely throw a pair of Remyxxes in the trash. To entice people to send their footwear in, Gagnon is offering a $5 purchase credit towards a new pair of shoes for anyone who sends in a used set. From there, he and his organization will make sure it all ends up in the right place.

The Remyxx shoes, announced this month, are set to be distributed sometime this fall.

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