Today I faced the fact that I have two pairs of running sneakers that are dead, i.e., not performing, hurting my feet, ready to die. I threw them in the trash.
But I couldn’t stand the sight of them there, ready to be taken to some already laden landfill.
I Googled “recycled running shoes” and found a number of interesting programs, including RecyledRunners.com. The best program for me, I think, is the Nike Grind “Reuse a Shoe” process. According to the website, I can bring the shoes to my nearby Nike store, and they will send the shoes to one of two facilities:
Memphis, Tennessee: Recently relocated from Wilsonville, Oregon, our Memphis center uses a “slice-and-grind” technique, where each shoe is cut into three slices – rubber outsole, foam midsole and fiber upper. These slices are then fed through grinders and purified.
Meerhout, Belgium: Our Belgium facility, which opened in 2005, grinds shoes up whole, then passes the material through a series of complex separators.
There’s a video here that shows the amazing process.
No matter how your shoes are processed, the end result is the same – three high-quality Nike Grind materials ready to be put back in the game:
Nike Grind Rubber, made from the shoe’s outsole, is used in track surfaces, interlocking gym flooring tiles, playground surfacing and even new Nike products, such as the outsoles of the Nike Pegasus or the Jordan XX3. It’s also used in trim items like buttons and zipper pulls.
Nike Grind Foam, made from the shoe’s midsole, is used as a cushion for outdoor basketball and tennis courts, as well as futsal fields.
I can’t wait to have my shoes participate in such a fabulous program!
There are 28 recycling recommendations at Practically Green: helpful tips on responsible disposal of all sorts of stuff, from televisions to cell phones, from corks to gift wrap. If you decided to do all 28, you’d earn a total of 326 points! (That singleton is for watching a four-minute video, The Story of Stuff.)