How to Recycle Old Shoes

A green guide to recycling old shoes.

What should you do with old shoes? Should you just throw your old sneakers into the trash? This question has probably popped into your head more than once as you go shoe shopping to find replacements for your old shoes. For those who are eco-conscious and interested in making environmentally-friendly lifestyle improvements, there's only one green answer: Recycle your old shoes instead of throwing them away!

How to Recycle Your Old Shoes:

It is important that you recycle your old shoes. Why? According to Nike, "millions of pairs of athletic shoes are thrown away, clogging landfills and wasting a lot of good material".

There are various recycling options for those interested in recycling old shoes and recycling old sneakers. Some of these shoe recycling options depend on the type of shoe you have. For example, those who like to wear Crocs can take advantage of the Croc-recycling program at SolesUnited. SolesUnited says that their shoe-recycling program is the "first-of-its-kind recycled footwear donation program" (source). All you need to do is drop off your old shoes at any collection site and SolesUnited will clean them, grind them up and make them into an new pair of recycled shoes which will then be shipped around the world to people who need new shoes.

There's also shoe-giant Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program to recycle old shoes. It promises to "[T]urn your old kicks into new places to play your game" (source). Recycling your old shoes through Nike is easy: All you have to do is drop your old shoes off at a Nike store or mail them to a shoe-recycling plant that Nike operates.

What will happen when you recycle your old shoes? Nike will grind them up and turn them into the material they use to make "basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for young people around the world" (source). A worthy end for your old shoes!

Finally, for those who are environmentally-conscious with an eye for humanitarian needs, Soles4Souls promises to change the world "one pair at a time" (source). They'll take gently-worn old shoes and recycle them by giving them to children in need.

Are you recycling old shoes? Don't throw away those old shoes. Instead of putting your old shoes into the trash and clogging up the landfill, recycle your old shoes. It's the right choice for your feet and for the environment.