As runners we definitely get attached to our shoes. Running is freedom; lace up your shoes, and you’re only moments away from bliss. But what happens when your shoes have literally run their course? We might not think about the highly polluting materials they are made of, or what happens on the next journey the shoes take to the dumpster or landfill. The next time you are about to throw away your old kicks, think about these 4 solutions for your old shoes:
You have several different options for donating your old shoes:
- Soles4Souls: One of our charity partners for Ragnar Relay Tennessee, Souls4Souls will take your “gently worn” old shoes give them a second chance at life by giving them to those in need. Through the collection and sale of used clothing and shoes, Soles4Souls helps create self-sustaining jobs that generate desperately needed revenues throughout communities like Haiti. Check out their drop off locations, or host your own shoe drive.
- One World Running: One World Running provides shoes to those in need locally and over seas. The shoes that are not suitable for reuse are sent to Nike in Beaverton, Ore., through Boulder’s Eco-Cycle program, to be ground up and made into running tracks and playgrounds through the Reuse-a-Shoe program. Check out their drop off locations.
- Thrift Stores/ Donation Centers: Drop off your old shoes at your local thrift store or donation center.
Old shoes can be ground up and used to make high quality sports surfaces like basketball courts, tracks and playgrounds. Recycle your shoes by checking out Planet Aid or World Wear Project’s participating locations.
Instead of throwing your shoes away keep them for a rainy day on the road or the muddy trails. If you’ve ever been floating down the river or in a muddy lake, it’s not a bad idea to keep an old pair of shoes to protect your feet in those situations.
Repurpose your shoes into something else. Some people have used their old shoes as plant potters: fill a disinfected shoe with soil and grow herbs on porch or windowsill. Old shoes could also be used as a part of a Halloween costume (gold spray painted shoes anyone?). Much like artists turn old skateboard decks into a work of art, maybe you know a friend who can turn your trusty shoes that you got your marathon PR in, into a work of art.
Photo courtesy of: http://dreamermagazine.com/
This Earth Day, don’t think about all the things you’re not doing, think about the little changes you can make over the next year. They do really add up!