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Skechers Has Reduced Plastic Use in Packaging by 85%

Skechers announced Thursday that it has slashed the amount of plastic in its footwear packaging by 85 percent to just 10 percent of its foot forms since 2016—no small amount considering that it expects to ship more than 170 million pairs of shoes this year alone.

The accomplishment is part of an “aggressive strategy,” the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based footwear company said, to increase its use of sustainable packaging worldwide. Already, 99 percent of Skechers-branded shoeboxes meet Forestry Stewardship Council standards for responsible sourcing, and 94 percent—give or take differences in municipality guidelines—are recyclable (as are 100 percent of its tissue wrapping). All of the brand’s packaging materials, it further noted, are printed with soy- or water-based inks.

Skechers’ “global sustainability philosophy” extends to its shipping practices, too, it said. All of the brand’s master cartons from its factories not only are printed with soy- and water-based inks but also are 100 percent recyclable. At distribution centers that manage more than 90 percent of its business, Skechers’ outbound shipping cartons comprise between 96 percent and 100 percent recycled materials and are 100 percent recyclable.

“As the third largest worldwide athletic lifestyle footwear brand, we want to be as forward-thinking with our packaging and shipping of our product—and these sustainable improvements can have a tremendous impact on the world,” Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers, said in a statement.

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Several Skechers facilities, from its Moreno Valley distribution center for North America to the upcoming Manhattan and Hermosa Beach offices, which are slated to open in 2020, are expected to achieve LEED Gold certification for incorporating eco-friendly building features such as natural lightning, drought-tolerant landscaping, renewable energy and reduced waste.

“I’m proud of the ongoing efforts we are making to reduce our footprint as we’ve increased our global presence,” Greenberg said. “And [I] look forward to progressing these initiatives as we continue to find ways to lower our impact on the environment.”

Recycling alone has shown to be an ineffective route out of the planet’s plastic crisis. Of the nearly 86 million tons of plastic packaging produced globally each year, only 14 percent is recycled, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. One 2015 study from the University of California, Santa Barbara estimated that nearly 8 million metric tons—and growing—of plastic ends up in the oceans every year. If current trends persist, researchers said, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills by 2050.