I like sustainable packaging tie-ins to sporting and athletic events. Packaging Strategies has reported on such tie-ins on multiple occasions. For example, while participating in a half Ironman relay in Washington state last September, I learned from a fellow cyclist about the sustainable packaging efforts of RockitTM Apple.

We’ve also reported on the Portland Trail Blazers and their efforts to utilize more eco-friendly foodservice packaging within Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and we’ve reported on the Philadelphia Eagles switching to bio-based bags for retail sales at Lincoln Financial Field.

Most recently, I stumbled across yet another example of sustainable packaging while preparing for the annual Bloomsday Run in Spokane, my hometown for more than two decades now. The 7.5-mile run takes place on the first Sunday in May. This year represents the 22nd consecutive year that I have participated in the run.

With Bloomsday approaching, I was in the market for a new pair of running shoes, so I visited a local running store. It was the young woman attending me (Abby, who, coincidentally, went to high school with my daughter) who told me about the footwear of Hylo Athletics.

Hylo aims for sustainability on so many fronts that it would be difficult to touch on all of them here. However, I’ll highlight a few of their efforts.

One thing Abby pointed out to me is that I should hold on to the specially designed Hylo shoebox since I can use it to ship my sneakers back to Hylo once I’ve worn them out.

“We need your shoes,” Hylo proclaims on its website, noting that 90% of shoes currently end up in the landfill.

In Hylo’s own words about “How It Works” …

  1. We collect used hylo shoes until we reach a critical mass of 2,000 pairs.
  2. These shoes are then shipped to our recycling partner where they are broken down and processed into separate waste streams.
  3. We then take these material waste streams and ship them to our recycling manufacturer who blends them with virgin material to create a master batch.
  4. This master batch is then ready to be poured into a mold to create our new product.

So, from providing a multi-purpose, reusable shoebox to recycling their own shoes, Hylo Athletics is putting circularity front and center.

FINAL NOTE: This is the first pair of Hylo shoes that I’ve ever purchased. While this column had to be turned in before I could run Bloomsday and share my official results, I can say that training with the Hylo shoes has been great!

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Brad Addington
Chief Editor, Packaging Strategies
(248) 227-4727