Give Your Old Shoes New Life
Have your kicks have seen better days? After a year, or two, you probably find yourself ready to toss the shoes you’ve worn time and time again. But wait, before you drop your dingy, old shoes in the garbage, there are other, more environmentally-friendly ways of disposing your old kicks.
Recycling footwear plays a huge part in saving millions of gallons of water, millions of pounds of CO2, and best of all, diverts an enormous amount of textiles from ending up in landfills. Just think about a basic pair of tennis shoes and how many materials are used for each shoe — mesh, leather, cotton laces, and a combination of rubber, polyurethane and thermoplastic rubber for the soles. All of those materials can be recycled and repurposed.
Here’s what a few SMART members are doing with recycled shoes:
American Textile Recycling Service (ATRS)
ATRS has been turning clothes, shoes and other household textiles into funding for non-profit organizations since 2001. Recently, ATRS took part in the Super Scottsdale Shoe Drive to raise funds to resurface the Family Promise Center Basketball Court. Over 21,000 unwanted sneakers, sandals and other shoes were diverted from local municipal landfills in just over a month.
USAgain was founded in 1999, and recycles and reuses shoes to redirect millions of pounds of textiles from landfills. In 2013, USAgain collected muddy tennis shoes from participants at the Minnesota Warrior Dash, saving over 11 million gallons of water.
Community Recycling’s ShoeBox Recycling program specifically focuses on recycling gently used shoes. After your shoes are collected, Community Recycling ships them around the world so that they may find a new sole mate.
So, the next time you are ready for a new pair of shoes, and getting rid of your old ones, think about recycling instead of tossing them in the trash. Not sure where to take your old kicks? Find a SMART member in your area today!
© 2015 Secondary
Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
3465 Box Hill Corporate Center Drive, Suite H, Abingdon, MD 21009 • P: 443-640-1050 x112 • F: 443-640-1086