Circularity for ski boots: from the slopes... to the slopes. The project that has already recycled 11,000 pairs of ski boots is expanding, introducing pick-up points in the Dolomiti Superski ski area
From the slopes, to recycling and then back to the slopes, with lower energy consumption and lower emissions: this is the goal of Recycle Your Boots, the innovative project launched by Tecnica Group in 2021, bringing a genuine circular economy concept to the world of Alpine skiing for the first time.
The project is both simple and ambitious, involving several companies and stakeholders, starting with the Alpine skiing community. All of us skiing enthusiasts can kickstart the initiative, by handing in our used ski boots, of any brand, instead of leaving them in our cellars, or discarding them as generic waste. Tecnica Group has set up a system for picking up, disassembling and recycling the boots’ components, which will be converted into second-generation raw materials like plastic granules and aluminium pieces, ready to be melted down and reused in industrial production. The project was spearheaded by Tecnica in 2021, and later it also extended to the Nordica brand. By summer 2023, it had succeeded in collecting over 11,000 pairs of used ski boots in 10 countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Sweden, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Czech Republic.
The process doesn’t end here. As well as collecting used ski boots, the Tecnica Group brands, Tecnica and Nordica, have started to redesign their ski boots using sustainable principles. They are now using recycled materials, and developing structures that make the boots easier to disassemble once they have reached the end of their useful life (for example, a screwed-on sole is easier to recycle than a glued-on one).
Used ski boots can therefore enjoy a new lease of life, with savings in terms of materials and energy resources, and a lower CO2 footprint. And there is more. While studying how to recycle the inner shoe (the most complex component in this respect), Tecnica Group has developed a new recycling system, and a surprising collaboration: the inner shoes, once processed and transformed into a sheet, and coupled with two virgin polyurethane sheets, become the padding for the protective mats produced by Liski, returning to the pistes as a different product.
The cycle is complete, and the Recycle Your Boots network is getting larger every year, involving new countries and new pick-up points, because everyone can and should contribute to this ambitious project. The Dolomiti Superski ski area too has decided to join the initiative, and from this season you will be able to find pick-up points in the resorts of 3 Cime, Alta Badia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Civetta, Val di Fiemme/Obereggen and Val Gardena.