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Houston Regional Group - Article


by Frank Blake

If you have old, worn out athletic shoes, you can recycle them rather than toss them in the trash. Nike has a Reuse-A-Shoe program which collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling, and along with pre-consumer shoe waste, transforms them into Nike Grind, a material used to create athletic and playground surfaces and more. This program is an effort to reduce the company's environmental footprint and the amount of shoes that end up in landfills.

There are a number of organizations dedicated to shoe donations, where still useable shoes are collected and sent to communities or individuals. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe is different because it takes worn-out shoes - ones that would otherwise go to landfills - and recycles them into something new. If your shoes still have life in them, you should donate them to an appropriate charity in your area. But once they reach retirement, Reuse-A-Shoe is a good option.

You can drop off athletic shoes of any brand for recycling. Nikes (TM) recycling equipment is set up specifically for the material and dimensions of athletic shoes. For this reason the program does not accept sandals, flip-flops, dress shoes, or boots. Nor do they accept shoes containing metal such as cleats or spikes.

One can bring up to 10 pairs of shoes to any Reuse-A-Shoe collection location, which can be found at most U.S. Nike and Converse retail stores (call the store first to confirm).

The recycled product, called Nike Grind, includes three types of raw materials made from recycled athletic shoes and manufacturing byproducts: rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper. These materials are ground up and used by select companies in sport and playground surfaces, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, running tracks, and athletic fields, as well as in numerous Nike apparel, footwear and equipment products.

Last updated:  04/01/2013.   Content © 2013-2013 by the Sierra Club.