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How To Recycle Running Shoes

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How to recycle your running shoes | Salomon How To

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If your sneakers are falling apart, no worries! There are still ways to recycle them. While many programs repair old footwear to resell or donate to those in need, others will take unwearable sneakers and create new athletic shoes or new clothing items.

If your sneakers are still in wearable condition, look at other alternatives first. This could be anything from repurposing them yourself to giving them to a running shoe drive fundraiser. Whatever you do, make sure they dont wind up in the garbage!

How To Recycle Your Running Shoes

5 min read


Have your running shoes reached the end of their race? Have you owned a pair of sneakers for a while that are practically new because you never use them? If its time to get rid of them there are now more ecological alternatives than the garbage can thanks to recent developments in recycling.

There are many reasons why you and should retire your running shoes.

  • After logging many kilometers theyve now reached the end of their life cycle and they no longer retain the qualities that made them so great to run in.
  • You collect sneakers and your closet is overflowing. Its time to make some room!
  • You have shoes that just dont feel that great when you run in them. Why keep them?

Repair, reuse, collect or recycle: local authorities, brands, different associations and initiatives are all working together to find solutions that promote eco-responsible running as well as sports in general.Staying well informed will enable you to find the best solution for giving new life to your running shoes.

Running shoes for women | Running shoes for men

Save Your Food From Going To Waste

The average U.S. household throws away over 20 percent of all food they purchase. Thats like going to the store, buying five bags and just leaving one in the parking lot.

When you make small shifts in how you shop, prepare and store food, you can waste less, save money and conserve the valuable resources associated with food production. Take the Eat Smart, Waste Less Challenge and get free tools and tips to help reduce wasted food!

The items we use and consume every day have a direct impact on our environment and our communities. Thats why it is everyones responsibility to consider what happens to those things once were done using them.

In Oregon, we have a strong recycling ethic. By recycling right, were able to reduce the amount of energy and resources required to make new products, decrease pollution, and create jobs. 1.4 million tons of material collected in Oregon was recycled in 2016, which has environmental benefits equivalent to taking 690,000 cars off the road!

In Washington County, your recycling bin is where you put paper products, flattened cardboard, metal, and some plastic bottles and tubs. Glass bottles and jars are collected in a small container on the side.

Check out our Recycling Guide for a more detailed list of what can and cannot go in your recycling bin.

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Host An Obstacle Course Or Mud Run


Your gym members will jump at the opportunity to test their strength with an innovative obstacle course or mud run. Its a great way to exercise while also having a blast with the whole community. You can include obstacles like:

  • A mud pit
  • Monkey bars
  • A muddy inflatable slide

Dont be afraid to get creative! Plus, Sneakers4Funds has a unique process for collecting athletic shoes after mud runs. Theyll provide you with everything you need, even a hose nozzle to spray off the mud and a special mesh bag for gathering muddy sneakers. Participants likely wont want to clean their running shoes after the race, so make sure to promote your running shoe drive fundraiser ahead of time actively.

If They Can’t Be Saved See If They Can Get New Life In Another Form

How to Recycle Running Shoes

If your shoes are truly beat and you can’t fathom another person loving them a good rule of thumb is that if the uppers are still in good condition, the shoe can have a second life toss them into a recycling bin instead of the trash. Footwear recycling is not nearly as common as clothes recycling , because shoes are more complex. However, there area handful of programs attempting it. And the options are expected to grow in the next few years.

Nike’s Reuse a Shoe program, running since 1993, recycles worn out sneakers by any brand. They’ve processed 33 million pairs of shoes to date. After separating the shoes into leather, foam, plastic and rubber, the pieces are ground down and reused as surfacing for playgrounds, track tops, carpet padding and even new Nike gear, like maybe the soles of your Air Jordans. You can get in on the action by dropping your shoes at participating Nike and Converse Factory stores .

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You can also take beat-up shoes by anybrand to Columbia stores and participating Asics stores . These in-store take back programs are run by I:CO, a global waste handler whose parent company opened the world’s first industrial-scale shoe recycling facility in 2018, which is working to find solutions for any kind of shoe waste, according to a company rep via email. Recently I:CO partnered with Adidas to turn bits of rubber from running shoes into rugs, for example.

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Ask A Sustainability Expert: How Do I Recycle My Worn

Shoes destined for recycling via Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program.

Even for fashion and beauty lovers who think sustainability is important, wading through all the sometimes-conflicting information about it can be tricky. To combat the confusion, we’re asking scientists, researchers and other authorities to answer all your most pressing questions in our column Ask a Sustainability Expert.

Dear Fashionista: What’s the most responsible way to dispose of shoes once they’re worn past the point of no return? I don’t want them to end up in a landfill, but I know I can’t just put them out on the curb with my cardboard and glass for recycling.

Perhaps your soles look like Swiss cheese or your high heels are so chewed up you’re telling people the dog got ahold of them. If it’s time to retire your loved-to-death footwear and you’re looking for responsible, sustainable ways to do so, there’s good news and bad news: You have options, but none of them are perfect.

Of the 24.2 billion pairs of shoes manufactured globally each year, experts say that most of them end up in a landfill or incinerator, because there are simply too many shoes and not enough recycling solutions.

“When you are generating this much product, most of it is sent back to landfill,” says Dr. Sahadat Hossain, the director of the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Raise Money For Your Organization


Fundraising for a nonprofit organization is no easy feat. By hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser, you will easily be able to boost your fundraising capacity without spending anything out-of-pocket.

You will be able to complement almost any type of fundraising event with the addition of a running shoe drive fundraiser. However, when you are organizing your activities, make sure that your community understands the benefits of repurposing running shoes.

Some people in your donor and prospective donor network may be unaware that so many people are in need of good athletic shoes. Once they realize this, you will be able to see the donated running shoes come flooding into your group. Helping people understand where the athletic shoes go is essential because the more sneakers that are given, the more money your organization will receive!

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Got Old Shoes Think Green

Give your old athletic shoes new life by recycling rather than adding them to the landfill. In early 1990, Nike began thinking about ways to lessen its impact on the environment and reduce the amount of shoes headed for landfills Nikes Reuse-A-Shoe program was born. The program collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling and transforms them into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces as well as select Nike products.

The program has collected 28 million shoes for recycling since 1990. And, in 2008, Nike placed Reuse-A-Shoe bins in all of its U.S. retail stores more than 150 locations. If you have a pair of athletic shoes that have reached the end of their useful life, consider dropping them off at one of Nikes Reuse-A-Shoe drop-off locations. Visit the programs drop-off location page to find one near you. Nike continues to add new sites, so check back often for new shoe recycling locations. In the U.S., collected shoes head to Memphis, TN. At the recycling facility, these shoes are combined with Nikes manufacturing waste to become Nike Grind material. The Memphis center cuts each shoe into three slices: rubber outsole, foam midsole and fiber upper. Each slice is fed through grinders and purified. In the end, three high-quality materials are ready to be reused:

Dont Just Throw Em Away

Over 100 collection points across S’pore for used sports shoes to be recycled into building material

If an athlete runs 1,000 miles in a year and their shoes last for an average amount of time, that means 2-3 pairs of shoes could potentially end up in the landfill every year. Folks, thats not okay!

There are so many options out there from rotating your old running shoes to another purpose to donating to a good cause. Your shoes can be ground down to make playground material or repurposed into decor or birdhouses.

Whether you think locally, like donating to your local Goodwill, or globally, such as donating to an international organization, your shoes can and should be put to good use. Just like we recycle bottles, plastic and other items, we should recycle old running shoes.

As a company that endorses and values sustainability, the staff at Rockay beg you to be responsible and breathe new life into your sneakers. Our planet depends on you.

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Appeal To A New Type Of Donor


Not everyone with the affinity to give can do it. Some people can believe in your cause and want to support your organization, but just lack the funds to do so. By asking people to donate their extra running shoes, you will open up the doors for more people to do good without giving money.

Individuals in your community who were previously unable to support your organization financially may find it easier to part with their gently worn, used, and new running shoes.

People will be grateful for the opportunity to still support causes they are passionate about without suffering themselves. By hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser, you will be able to extend your reach to meet your prospective donors where they are and add an extra boost to your funds.

What Types Of Shoes Can Be Recycled

Generally, you can recycle any type of shoe. However, what you can and cannot recycle will be dependent on each service for recycling.

For example, Nike and similar programs only recycle athletic sneakers. Some brands may just recycle their own specific brand of shoes. Other programs, such as with TerraCycle, give more leeway in the type of shoes that can be recycled.

After knowing the types of shoes that can be recycled, you need to factor in the conditions of the product. Programs aiming to truly recycle the shoes will take them in any condition. Donation stations, on the other hand, will only accept gently used shoes that can be reused by someone else.

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How To Recycle Running Shoes

Sadly, running shoes dont last forever. The average life of a running shoe is about 500 kilometers. After that, the cushioning wears out, and the shoes lose their ability to absorb the impact you create as you run. When that happens, your knees and joints take over and absorb that shock. This can lead to a significantly increased risk of injuryouch! But just because your shoes are no longer suitable for running, that doesnt mean you have to toss them in the trash. Check out the ideas below and find some ways to either repair, donate or recycle running shoes!

Can You Repair Footwear

How to Recycle Old Running Shoes

It’s not always easy to repair running shoes. It’s a bit different for repairing the soles of many hiking boots, but running shoes are normally designed in such a way that resoling and repair is tricky.

However, it’s worth looking on-line for running shoe repair services in case they can offer a solution for your favourite running shoes.

There are brands that offer reconditioning services, such as Vivo Barefoot, which has a service called ReVivo. This repairs and re-sells old and unwanted Vivo shoes, providing lower priced options with a reduced environmental impact.

It is worth checking with various running shoe brands to see if they have repair and reconditioning options.

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Set Up A Donation Bin At The Community Center

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If you dont have free time to rally up a door-to-door campaign team, try setting up a donation bin at the community center. Alternatively, set up bins at your local farmers market. You can also create flyers to promote the opportunity and post them on bulletin boards around town. Make sure to advertise the eco-friendliness of the project!

When you set up a stationary spot for the running shoe donations, people can come and go as they please, ensuring you receive the most contributions as possible. Whatever location you choose, make sure theres a decent bit of foot traffic and rely on your family and friends to spread the word to the community.

Where To Donate Running Shoes

Running shoes are not often a great item to donate to a second hand store. They are not an item that people will generally want to reuse.

However, if your shoes arent totally worn out, you have some more options for donation beyond a local thrift store. Maybe your shoes didnt quite fit right or the kids outgrew them quickly. Shoes like that are perfect to give to someone who really needs them, and there are a few organizations that do just that.

  • Soles4Souls works to give impoverished people shoes so they can go to school, work and stay healthy. They even organize work trips for individuals and groups to give out the shoes.
  • One World Running provides shoes specifically to runners in need. The Boulder-based nonprofit was started after sports journalist Mike Sandrock visited West Africa and was inspired to do good and make change.

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How Can I Collect Running Shoes To Donate

Plenty of fundraising events can easily be enhanced by the addition of a running shoe collection. You will already be planning and executing fundraisers, so why not maximize the benefits for your organization?

When you are thinking about what kind of event to organize, consider events with an underlying theme of physical activity or exercise. These events are likely to bring in members of your community who appreciate the value of a good running shoe.

Consider events such as:


Walkathons are the perfect community event to bring people together for a sports activity. Since it does not require a lot of technical or athletic skills, it will bring out a wide range of community members with all levels of activity.

Having more people come to your event from a wide range of backgrounds is the best way to ensure you gain awarenessand fundsfor your organization. Make sure you plan your event for a mild, temperate season so that more people will feel inclined to join you. It doesnt hurt to have an indoor location on standby if you need to escape the rain. No matter what happens, you want to encourage people to stay at your event and enjoy themselves.

When you send out your invitations and promote your event, you can encourage people to donate running shoes or even the athletic shoes they walked in that day!

Ner With Local Running Stores

DIY SNEAKER TRICK – Reuse your old shoes and Sneakers – Recycle Your old Shoes With This Simple Fix

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Theres no better place to host a running shoe drive fundraiser than a local running store. To get started, partner with your local athletic and sporting good retailers that sell running shoes. Ask them to help you collect unwanted sneakers from their customers.

Typically, running stores will agree to help out because theyre aware of social responsibility and how it impacts the business. Plus, all theyll need to do is set up the bins and encourage visitors to bring in their gently worn, used and new athletic shoes. Since customers are looking to buy new sneakers, chances are, theyll be more than willing to give away their current pair.

Dont limit yourself, though. Other retailers may want to help out, too. For instance, check with local grocery stores and other businesses that have a lot of foot traffic or that cater to athletic audiences. Philanthropy is important to companies, and they want to build a positive image for their brand. Youll never know if you never ask!

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Shoes In Good Condition Donate Them Or Try To Sell Them

If your shoes are still in excellent condition, you can resell them or give them away by asking around within your network or by using an online classified ads website.Many specialty stores offer a consignment service. This is an excellent way to sell your shoes and give them a second life. You benefit from the traffic in the store and potential buyers will be able to try on the shoes. Put a fair price on them and youll be helping someone who doesnt have the budget for new shoes while also making space in your shoe closet.

Running shoes for women | Running shoes for men

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