There is lots of talk amongst the eco-savvy about end-of-lifecycle accountability and recyclability and how to make it happen and who should be responsible. Timberland has followed their talk with action. Enter the new Earthkeepers 2.0 boot, the first boot designed for easy disassembly at the end of its useful life.
It's a simple creature: a rubber sole stitched to a leather upper. 80% of the materials on the boot can be recycled or reused at the end of the boot’s first life. The detachable upper and chassis is full-grain leather from a Leather Working Group (LWG) Silver-rated tannery. The uppers will be used to make new footwear at Timberland’s own factory in the Dominican Republic. Polyester components will be recycled into new polyester products at Teijin in Japan, the only company that currently recycles polyester chemically. All removable metal hardware will also be reused or recycled. The Green Rubber sole is made using a process that converts scrap rubber, from things like used tires, to a recycled compound that can then be reused in rubber products, like shoe soles.
When you get them you register them online, and when you're done with them you drop them at any Timberland store. While they're not a fancy hi-tech hiking boot, they're sturdy, traditional-styled leather boots well suited to around town, travel or even light duty work. The sole is on the soft side. I wore these for sub five-mile hikes on gentle terrain and would certainly pack them for adventure travel when I wanted a classy boot that looks as good downtown as on short side hikes.
Check them out at Timberland's Earthkeepers website, where you'll find videos on how they're made as well as info on where to buy them and where to recycle them.