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Nike Will Refurbish Returned Sneakers And Put Them Back In Stores In A Push To Save The Planet


Nike will start refurbishing sneakers and putting them back on sale, with lower price tags, in the latest sustainability effort to reduce consumer waste and the impact on the environment. This means users will be able to buy refurbished footwear, that matches certain criteria before they are refurbished, at Nike stores in the US. The refurbished footwear will include all product lines, including the Nike React and Nike Zoom sneakers. This is particularly relevant for certain markets such as the US and Europe, where users often return footwear in exchange of something else. Any and all sneakers and shoes that are returned, within the return window that is 60-days, will be checked and considered for refurbishing. The advantage for users—these Nike sneakers may be a tad more affordable too. While saving the planet.

So, what is the criteria of a returned piece of shoe to be processed for refurbishing and then eventually put on the shop shelves again? Nike has a 60-day return window for users to return footwear back to their stores. These pieces will then be inspected and if there is no structural or more complex faults or damage, they will be refurbished by hand. Mind you, these will be marked as “refurbished” when sold and will likely have a much lower price tag than a new pair of the same variant or sneaker. Nike’s sneaker refurbishing efforts categorize the returned footwear into three categories—the like new ones that have perhaps been worn for a day or two before being returned, the gently worn ones that have been used for a bit longer and the cosmetically flawed sneakers that may have a manufacturing flaw or defect. The refurbishing initiative may soon be extended to other markets, though the timelines for that aren’t confirmed at this time. Refurbishing returned sneakers will reduce a significant amount of landfill waste, and also prevent materials which may have otherwise been unusable or recyclable, from being dumped.

“Each pair is inspected and refurbished by hand, and then given a condition grade. The team uses a number of different products and tools to return shoes to as close to new condition as possible. Once the shoes land back in a Nike store, the price is based on footwear type and condition grade. Handy messaging on the boxes make it easy to see what kind of shoes are inside, the condition grade, and more,” says the company. The refurbished Nike pair that you buy will also be covered by the 60-day return window, just like the newer pairs. Nike refurbished sneakers are currently on sale at 15 stores in the US, with more stores expected to be added this year.

Nike has been focusing on sustainability and environment with multiple initiatives over the past few years. According to the company’s latest Impact Report, Nike says that in FY20, 99.9% of the manufacturing scraps at the Tier 1 finished goods footwear suppliers were diverted from landfills through an integrated strategy including waste prevention, recycling, and the conversion of waste to energy for powering other industries. Of this, as much as 7% of the waste that was generated was recycled through Nike’s closed-loop recycling programs, 38% was recycled and used in other products, and 54% were used for energy recovery. Nike is also aggressively pushing what they call apparel and sneakers with the ‘sustainable materials” labels, which are made from at least 50% recycled content (for apparels) and 20% recycled materials (for sneakers). Some of these include the Nike Air Force 1 Crater (around Rs 7,437) and the Nike Air Max 95 (around Rs 16,595). Mind you, recycled materials focused footwear lines will be separate from the refurbished footwear that’ll go on sale in some Nike stores.

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