PAC Worldwide, Get Traction with Closed Loop Recycling Program

27 April 2023

There's a lot of talk these days about the circular economy. PAC Worldwide and online recycling organization, along with its retail e-commerce site, are walking the walk – with pre-owned tennis shoes.

Seattle-based PAC is partnering with both social enterprise brands to manufacture poly bags used for the collection, restoration and resale of sneakers that have outlived their initial life. Currently, that involves between 300-400 bags a day currently arriving at GotSneakers headquarters in Miami.        

The circular recycling loop starts with GotSneakers paying consumers to send the organization their used tennis shoes, using PAC's Polyjacket® mailers.  The mailers range in size from 6" x 9" up to 24" x 36 and are available in both stock as well as branded forms.

GotSneakers approached PAC about ways to close the loop by coming up with a solution to recycle the bags once customers returned them with shoes inside. PAC    introduced the company to one of their sustainability partners who agreed to take the used mailers and recycle them into building materials and other second-use products.

In keeping with the "second time around" theme, GotSneakers returned to PAC  after briefly working with an off-shore bag supplier. Challenges with breakage and quality control convinced them that the perceived cost advantages of going overseas were illusory.

PAC Worldwide President Thomas Parenteau said, "We couldn't be happier to welcome them back. Our shared commitment to advancing sustainability and corporate social responsibility make them a great partner for us."

Consumers are embracing the GotSneakers model. According to Co-founder and COO Eric Mesa, the volume of footwear at GotSneakers has increased 150% YoY for the past two years and is on track for a similar growth trajectory in 2023.

"Our mission to reduce the the number of shoes that end up in landfills each year and extend the life of footwear through resale and recycling resonates with people, said Mr. Mesa. "By compensating people for their used sneakers and quantifying the impact they are having on our environment, we are inspiring and motivating others to do well by doing good."