CloudNeo Environmental Impact

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Last year I tried Cloudneo shoes. I paid a monthly fee to use shoes that were made from beans that were processed into ’environmentally friendly recyclable shoes’. In reality this is a con. According to an RTS article the shoes are made from natural products, that are treated in a manner that is dangerous for humans and nature. The shoes themselves, at the time the article was written, are still not recycled.

Cette transformation se déroule dans l’usine d’Arkema, en ville. Le site est classé Seveso seuil haut, le risque maximum en matière industrielle. Le plus grand danger, mortel, vient d’une fuite de gaz lourd (il en faut beaucoup pour transformer le ricin en plastique).

The chemical process to turn the beans into the right type of material to make the shoes is awful for the environment. They use a deadly “heavy” gas to turn ricin into plastic.

The principle is fantastic. “we’re taking beans, and we’re turning them into shoes” but the process is anything but fantastic. It would be better to turn natural rubber into shoes, rather than these beens.

“Nous collectons les chaussures et nous sommes en bonne voie pour commencer le processus de recyclage”.

This is despite two years since they started making these shoes, and theoretically, eight generations of shoes. That’s a big stock pile of shoes waiting to be reycled.

“Ce procédé de recyclage ne s’adresse pas aux polyamides, c’est-à-dire aux plastiques qui constituent la Cloudneo. En tout cas pas pour l’instant et pas dans les décennies à venir. On ne voit pas bien comment on pourra résoudre ce problème”.

In summary, the type of plastic that is used for the Cloudneo shoes can’t be recycled, and won’t be recyclable for decades to come. This means that despite all of their claims, and despite their insistance to get their shoes back after I cancelled the contract after six months, the shoes won’t be recycled for months or years to come.

And Finally

I loved the ideas of shoes that were made from something natural, that could then be recycled and reused. The reality is that leather and other materials might be better suited to a circular life cycle. The bean shoes sell the illusion, and the dream, of being environmentally sound. What I find especially interesting is that it’s the Swiss French speaking national broadcaster that sheds light on the reality. It’s a Swiss broadcaster holding a Swiss company to account. OnRunning could achieve their goal one day, but for now it is vapourware.