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Where ‘recycled’ sneakers go – FreightWaves

Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter. In this issue, tracking recycled sneakers; Optimus vs. bullies; MoLo shake-up and more.

AirTags track “recycled” sneakers

Pedometer — Where do sneakers end up after they’re pitched in the recycle bin? Reuters launched a six-month investigation into the journey of 11 sneakers tracked by AirTags that were donated to one of Dow’s recycling programs. According to Reuters, “That effort promised to harvest the rubberized soles and midsoles of donated shoes, then grind down the material for use in building new playgrounds and running tracks in Singapore.”

The problem? — It turns out that never happened. An exporter named Yok Impex Pte Ltd., hired by Dow, was tasked with retrieving them. The location movement of 10 of the pairs saw them travel to Indonesia where they were then dispersed across street markets and remote locations in the region … but none to the promised recycling facilities.

“The project partners do not condone any unauthorized removal or export of shoes collected through this program and remain committed to safeguarding the integrity of the collection and recycle process.” – Dow in a statement

Not again — Reuters busted Dow back in 2021 for running a recycling scheme in Idaho where plastics that were promised to be turned into clean fuel were instead used to fuel a cement plant. Two years ago, German journalists conducted a similar shoe tracking sting. Die Zeit reports, “We were able to prove that Nike was destroying brand-new shoes under the disguise of its widely promoted ‘Nike Grind’ recycling program.”

Greenwashing — Returns and recyclables are all often freight nobody wants. Now Dow is taking heat from environmental groups that claim the company is trying to look favorable to regulators with sham recycling programs. Sound off: Do you care where your recyclables end up? Email me.

ArcBest fires MoLo founder and CEO


Shock — On Wednesday, MoLo CEO Andrew Silver took to LinkedIn to announce his and founder Matt Vogrich’s unexpected and untimely departure from the company. ArcBest acquired MoLo for an upfront $235 million cash payment and an earn-out figure that could have pushed the total to $450 million. Why the breakup? Insiders claim that a culture clash between Silver/Vogrich and ArcBest leadership may have been the culprit. Twenty-two-year ArcBest loyalist Steven Leonard has been appointed to oversee the truckload business.

140 drivers lose jobs as N.C. trucking company shuts down

Effective immediately Ops workers and drivers for North Carolina-based FreightWorks found out that their jobs were coming to an abrupt end in a heartfelt video sent by VP of operations Joyce Siqueira. 


Volumes claim another victim FreightWorks claimed that recent rate and volume concessions by several key accounts submarined the reefer carrier. It’s not an easy space to be in right now. As Luke Falasca tweeted, “Truckload Reefer Tender Rejections (capacity relative to demand) are at the lowest point they have ever been since data tracking began in early 2018!”

You can help A number of FreightWorks employees have reached out to let us know that they’re available for immediate placement. If you’re looking for help in the North Carolina area, here is some great C/VP/Director level talent. Take a look.

Rate the strap work


Hands were humanity’s superpower


Pick it up! The one thing nearly every robotics company that I have talked to tells me is that human hands are incredibly difficult for robots to replicate. Wiggle them in front of you and pat yourself on the back, meatsack because that could be changing. PlusOneRobotics just announced that they’ve received another $50 million in funding through a Series C round. 

FreightWaves reports, “Company officials said they will use the additional capital to increase capacity and rapidly scale deployment of its AI software-powered robots, as well as expand sales and marketing efforts in North America and internationally.”

Optimus Prime vs. elementary school bullies

Optimus Is Here

Transform and rollout Pennsylvania’s Joe Fiduccia has built a screen-accurate replica of Optimus Prime from “Transformers Age of Extinction” and he’s acting like a true autobot with it. He wrote on Facebook, “We’ve visited over 150 elementary and intermediate schools in North America since 2019, delivering our bully awareness presentation to over 34,000 students.”

Optimus Is Here

Kids say So, how did the students feel about being visited by the big boss from Cybertron? 

Bryce: Thank you, thank you, thank you for teaching us that bullies will never go away and we have to stand up for ourself. 

Lilly: Thank you for bringing Optimus to our school. It was so cool when Optimus talked to us. 

Hailey: You made me excited, Optimus Prime taught me to never bully. 

Tyson: I love the smoke cannons that were loud and the encouraging speech.

Hugh: We as second graders really enjoyed you, everything you did for us was so amazing.

The rest of the noise

Microsoft adds supply chain alerts to copilot using generative AI
Toronto restaurant names burgers after easily expensable items
Imports sink again as wholesale inventories remain bloated

WTT Friday

Anatomy of a truck accident  — On Friday’s episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!? I’m talking to James E. Lewis, M.Ed., CDS about everything you need to know about truck accidents. How do you protect yourself, your drivers and your customers in this operating environment? We’ll lay out strategies for safety and success. 

TForce Worldwide’s Tom Griffin shares the importance of running a flexible supply chain.

Trucker Path’s Chris Oliver tells us what the best truck stops in America are. 

Dunavant’s Melzie Wilson wants you to stress test your supply chain and is here to tell us how.

Plus, news, weirdness and more. 

Catch new shows live at noon ET Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWavesTV, FreightWaves LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

FreightWorks shutdown, warehouse robots and project44’s vision quest

Q&A with Hyliion’s Healy, BlueCargo founders story and a shipper’s perspective

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