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  • Australians call themrunners." The British know them astrainers."

  • Americans refer to them astennis shoesorsneakers."

  • Whatever you call them, these rubber-soled, casual shoes

  • are worn by billions of people around the world.

  • Originally invented in the late 19th century,

  • these simple canvas and rubber creations have changed a lot

  • since they first hit the pavement.

  • Today, sneaker consumption is at an all-time high.

  • No country buys more sneakers than the United States,

  • where people purchase 3 pairs a year on average.

  • To meet this demand, roughly 23 billion shoes are produced each year,

  • mostly in factories across China and Southeast Asia.

  • But making shoes has become more complicated, more labor-intensive,

  • and in some ways, more dangerous,

  • for the workers involved and for our planet.

  • Shoe manufacturing accounts for roughly one-fifth

  • of the fashion industry's carbon emissions.

  • Sneakers alone generate 313 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year,

  • which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 66 million cars.

  • To better understand your shoe's carbon footprint,

  • let's dive into the anatomy of a sneaker.

  • For starters, the heel, insole, midsole, and upper layer

  • are usually made from synthetic textiles like polyester, nylon, latex,

  • and polyurethane.

  • Mining the fossil fuels that make up these materials emits tons of greenhouse gases.

  • And processing those raw ingredients into synthetic textiles

  • also uses a lot of energy, further compounding that pollution.

  • Some sneaker tops are made from natural sources like leather,

  • but tanning this material relies on chromium;

  • a carcinogenic chemical that can damage freshwater ecosystems.

  • The outer soles of most shoes are made of rubber

  • that's gone through a process called vulcanization.

  • This technique adds sulfur to superheated raw rubber to create a material

  • that's both elastic and sturdy.

  • Until recently, sneakers used natural rubber for this process.

  • But today, most outer soles are made with a synthetic blend of natural rubber

  • and byproducts from coal and oil.

  • Producing these materials accounts for 20% of a sneaker's carbon footprint.

  • But more than two-thirds of the shoe's carbon impact comes from the next step:

  • manufacturing.

  • A typical sneaker is comprised of 65 discrete parts,

  • each of which is produced by specialized machinery.

  • This means it's cheaper for factories to mass-produce each piece separately

  • rather than manufacturing every part under one roof.

  • But the transportation required to ship these pieces

  • to one assembly plant emits even more CO2.

  • Once the components arrive at the assembly line,

  • they undergo cutting, pouring, melting, baking, cooling, and gluing,

  • before the final products can be stitched together.

  • The assembly of a typical sneaker requires more than 360 steps,

  • and accounts for the remaining 20% of a sneaker's environmental impact.

  • The dispersion of factories fuels another problem as well: labor abuse.

  • Most brands don't own or operate their factories,

  • so the plants they work with are in countries

  • with little to no worker protection laws.

  • As a result, many laborers earn below the living wage,

  • and are exposed to harmful chemicals, like toxic glue fumes.

  • When manufacturing is complete,

  • the shoes are packaged and transported to stores around the globe.

  • For many, these shoes could last years.

  • But for someone running 20 miles a week,

  • a pair of running shoes will start wearing out after roughly 6 months.

  • Since the shoes are made of so many different materials,

  • they're almost impossible to break down into recyclable components.

  • 20% of these shoes are incinerated, while the rest are tossed into landfills

  • where they can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

  • So, how can we balance our love of sneakers

  • with the need for sustainability?

  • First, designers should streamline design elements

  • and focus on eco-friendly materials.

  • Factories need to develop energy efficient manufacturing processes

  • that consolidate steps and sneaker parts.

  • And consumers should support companies using clean energy

  • and ethical manufacturing processes.

  • We can also buy fewer shoes, wear them for longer,

  • and donate those we no longer need.

  • So no matter what your style, we can all take steps towards a sustainable future.

Australians call themrunners." The British know them astrainers."

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B1 中級 美國腔

一雙運動鞋的生命週期--張安琪 (The life cycle of a sneaker - Angel Chang)

  • 18 1
    shuting1215 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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