Several organizations are holding shoe collection events this month in honor of Earth Day, but you can recycle athletic shoes on your own anytime.
Nike, an Oregon shoe manufacturer, accepts donations of up to 10 pairs of used sneakers at a number of locations across the United States and unlimited numbers of shoes sent directly to their recycling facility. The shoe soles are ground up to use in kid’s playgrounds, sport parks, and other facilities.
Since the birth of Reuse-A-Shoe in 1990, they’ve recycled more than 21 million pairs of athletic shoes toward more than 265 sport surfaces, giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world. The following list shows approximately how many pairs of recycled athletic shoes generally go into making each surface:
• Outdoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs
• Outdoor tennis court: 2,500 pairs
• Full field or soccer pitch: 50,000 - 75,000 pairs
• Mini soccer field: 10,000-20,000 pairs
• Running track: 75,000 pairs
• Playground: 2,500 pairs
• Indoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs
• Indoor synthetic basketball court: 2,500 pairs
To keep their recycling equipment running smoothly, they have a few guidelines for recycling:
• Athletic shoes only (any brand)
• No shoes containing metal
• No cleats or dress shoes
• No wet or damp shoes
You can send any number of shoes to them at:
Nike Recycling Center
199 Pearson Parkway
Lebanon, IN 46052
A pair of athletic shoes tossed into the landfill may linger for up to 1,000 years before breaking down, so recycling them makes really good sense.