Imagine a day when you can place your old pair of shoes in the bin right alongside your plastic bottles, containers and other recyclable products. Well, for Gary Gagnon and his company Remyxx, that day is here.
You may have caught Gary passionately pleading for funding from the “sharks” on “Shark Tank” (and scoring an investment deal from fashion mogul Daymond John) or dazzling Jane Velez Mitchell on CNN’s “Headline News”. No matter where you might have seen him, or will see him, Gary is motivated to bring his concept of the wholly recyclable sneaker to the masses.
HellaWella had a chance to speak with Gary to learn more about Remyxx and how he became the first company to offer sneakers that could be kept out of the landfill.
Referring to himself as an “everyday, diligent, suburban recycler,” Gary said he got into recycling in 1984 as a high school student when recycling became popular. He joked that he’s “the kind of guy who would pick out the aluminum cans from the regular trash so that they could be recycled.” He even saves his trash from airplane flights to be sure that it gets recycled properly. However, despite this dedication to recycling, Gary would not call himself a “hardcore environmentalist.” He admitted to not composting and said he’s never changed himself to anything in protest. He said that he’s like most Americans who may not be obsessed with the environment but still want to do something to help.
For Gary, helping out was as simple as keeping shoes out of the landfill. When he learned 300 million pairs were tossed out each year, he decided he wanted to do something about it.
Gary spent the past two and a half years developing the company to where it is today, and the process began by searching for the right fabric and working with a chemist to see if a wholly recyclable sneaker was possible. He noted that while other sneakers can be made of several components, his just contain three to four. And while the shoe’s makeup is proprietary, Gary shared that they are made from a blend of polypropylene plastic — the same stuff used to make yogurt tubs and other containers — giving him the ability to put a No. 5 recycling symbol right on the shoe.
I know what you’re thinking, and we asked Gary the same thing: What if your community doesn’t accept No. 5 products for recycling? Gary said part of the initiative is to improve awareness and to encourage more communities to broaden their recycling programs. He noted that even those communities that have more robust recycling initiatives may not realize the shoes are recyclable. He hopes that with the growth of his company, more recyclable products will emerge, and our definition of trash will change.
For his own shoes, Gary envisions retail stores that carry his product offering collection bins for their recycling.
But before any of that happens, Gary assured us that if you want to be confident your pair of Remyxx sneakers are recycled, you can send them back to the company for a $5 credit toward your next purchase and they will not end up in the landfill. They may even end up helping to make a new pair of Remyxx shoes.
Right now, Gary wants to grow his sneaker business, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have big dreams. He sees a future of wholly recyclable products that goes beyond shoes, saying he would expand into any market.
If you want to pick up your own pair of Remyxx sneakers and help fund an exciting new company in the process, you can do so via the company’s Kickstarter page. The company has even partnered with Soles4Souls to provide shoes to those in need.