Sitting by a firepit in winter boots with KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T.

Warmth From Waste

Happy National Recycling Day!

"Repurposed for a Purpose" is a mantra around here, so we love that there's a day dedicated to celebrating the many benefits of recycling – from keeping our stuff out of landfills to saving natural resources. November 15 gives us an opportunity to think collectively about our relationship to the Earth and the Earth’s relationship to our trash … and gives us a chance to empower even more people to recycle, repurpose, and reuse.

Here at KEEN, we’ve been using recycled materials in our products for years. We think shoes are a better place to put trash than in oceans and landfills, so we use repurposed plastic in everything from our sandals to hiking shoes to winter boots. One of the latest ways we've utilized recycled plastic is in our KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation, which offers warmth through the cold season while making a lighter impact on the planet. Read on to learn all about it and the shoes you can wear to incorporate the technology into your renewed commitment to recycling this November.

What the Heck Is P.E.T. Plastic?

Plastic bottles are made of a material called P.E.T. (polyethylene terephthalate), and they’re a big problem for the planet. According to the United Nations, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and most of that plastic ends up in our landfills and oceans. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. Plus, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it takes a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose once it enters the environment.

Plastic bottles washed up on a beach

Recycling at the KEEN Portland house
P.E.T. plastic is marked with a #1 symbol. Here at the KEEN Portland house, we recycle #1 plastic plus just about every other type of plastic through TerraCycle.

How Do We Reuse P.E.T. Plastic?

The recycled P.E.T. plastic we use in our products is made from bottles that are collected, sorted, chopped into flakes, melted down to make chips, then melted down to fiber that is later spun into yarn. We use that yarn in our products as a step toward creating a circular economy where products are endlessly recycled, repurposed, and reused.

Using recycled plastic textiles keeps single-use water bottles out of landfills, and it also helps save natural resources. When we use recycled material, we’re not burning any new fossil fuels during production, which reduces greenhouse gasses, conserves energy, and cuts down on air and water pollution. Recycled polyester is almost the same as virgin polyester in terms of quality, but according to a 2017 study by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, its production requires 59 percent less energy than that of virgin polyester. Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) estimates producing rPET instead of regular polyester will reduce CO2 emissions by 32 percent.

Meet Our KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. Insulation

Now that the weather is shifting, the sun is going down a little earlier, and the mornings are greeting us with a blanket of fog (at least here in the Pacific Northwest), it’s time to swap out your sandals for a pair of cozy and insulated shoes. That’s where our KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation comes into the picture.

This technology is the recycled sister of our traditional KEEN.WARM insulation, and it works exactly the same way by trapping heat close to the body to keep you warm. We make shoes with 100g to 400g of recycled insulation, so you can cater the warmth of your shoes to the climate you live in. Of course, this insulating material has one major difference from non-recycled options: it’s made from recycled P.E.T. plastic fibers.

Excited to incorporate recycled insulation into your cold-weather routine? Check out this list of current KEEN shoes made with KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation, rated from warmer to warmest:

200g of KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation rated to -25°F/-32°C

Revel IV Mid Polar
Revel IV Chelsea
Targhee Lace Boot High Polar
Greta Waterproof Chelsea
Greta Waterproof Boot
Greta Waterproof Tall Boot

400g of KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation rated to -40°F/-40°C

Revel IV High Polar

KEEN Revel IV winter boots with KEEN.WARM Recycled P.E.T. insulation

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