Styles change, feet grow, and shoes break, but that doesn’t mean they have to be thrown out. There are so many ways that shoes can be repurposed, reused or recycled to create a new life for them while reducing waste. These are just a few ways that shoes can be recycled!
Soles4Souls is a not-for-profit organization that helps people in need. The goal of their organization is to provide shoes while also assisting in breaking the poverty cycle. You can donate your shoes to Soles4Souls to support them with their mission. They give shoes to children so they can attend school, provide shoes during a natural disaster and create opportunities for people to start their own business. They sell the shoes to entrepreneurs who sell and repurpose shoes to earn a profit. This allows families to support themselves and pull themselves out of poverty. By donating shoes, you are reducing waste and help someone in need!
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program allows people to return worn out athletic shoes to Nike locations, and they will reuse them to make their Nike Grind products. The Nike Grind products include shoes, clothes and sports surfaces (tracks, fields, and courts). Nike’s goal is to reduce waste and keep shoes out of landfills.
Who says shoes just have to be for feet? Shoes can be upcycled and used in DIY projects. These DIY projects include using shoes for flower pots, doorstops or even bookends.
Have a group of friends with the same size feet? Have them over for a shoe swap! This is a good way to get rid of unwanted shoes and get a new pair without spending a dime. This way multiple shoes are being prevented from becoming waste.
Repair and Revamp Shoes
A broken shoe doesn’t mean it's garbage, shoes can be repaired! Find a local cobbler-someone who repairs shoes, not a delicious dessert- and they can fix them! This is ideal when the shoe is in good condition, but there is one particular problem. This issue could be something like a broken heel, worn soles or a tight shoe that needs to be stretched. Repairing shoes keeps them out of the landfill and saves you the hassle of buying new shoes.
Are you tired of your shoes, think they are out of style and want new ones? Instead of buying new shoes, try revamping the original ones. To change the color of the shoes use fabric markers or nail polish. Ribbon can replace shoelaces for a pop of color. Adding sequins or buttons can change the whole style of the shoe. By updating shoes, that’s one less pair becoming waste!
Donate. Upcycle. Swap. Repair. Revamp. With so many options out there to recycle your shoes, it's difficult to decide which one to choose. Just remember with all these options you're helping the environment by keeping waste out of the landfill!