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An end-of-life decision support tool for product recovery considerations in the footwear industry

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The footwear industry is a manufacturing sector that utilizes a wide variety of materials and processes to produce a range of distinctly different products, from sandals to more specialized footwear. Currently, more than 19 billion pairs of shoes are produced worldwide every year. This creates a large waste stream at the end of the functional life of shoes, which are often disposed of in landfills. Producer responsibility concerns, forthcoming legislation and increasingly environmentally conscious consumers are expected to challenge the way the global footwear industry is dealing with its end-of-life (EoL) products. This paper highlights the potential benefits of developing a footwear product recovery methodology and an associated software tool to support decision-making to determine the most suitable (in environmental, economic and social-technical terms) manner in which to treat post-consumer shoe waste. Such a methodology, in addition to supporting design and material selection processes, could also provide benchmark information for the selection of the best EoL practice for a selected range of different shoe types. The paper concludes by providing a computational viewpoint of an EoL shoe recovery decision support tool.
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Keywords: Decision support; End-of-Life management; Footwear industry; Shoe recycling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Reuse/Recycling Technologies (SMART), Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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