July 01, 2008

Give back to the track, Jack!

[By Merry]

The Nike World Campus in Oregon

Want to make yourself feel good? Sure you do.
Got any old running shoes that you really should get rid of? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Okay, here's the deal. You can recycle your old shoes.

Reuse-A-Shoe is a program sponsored by Nike. Worn-out athletic shoes of any brand are collectedand recycled into material used in sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for young people around the world.

Not just any shoes

They have to be athletic shoes. Specifically, they will recycle:

  • Athletic shoes only (any brand)
  • No shoes containing metal
  • No cleats or dress shoes
  • No wet or damp shoes

Sounds great! Where do I drop them off?

They've put together a website of places to drop off old shoes in the U.S. And another for places to drop off old shoes in Europe or Australia. Sadly, they need to realize how great Canadians are at recycling. At least Nike's trying. I'll give them credit for that.

Is this something that everyone who's anyone has known about for years? Are you all sitting back and yawning, thinking to yourself "That Merry! She really needs to get out more -- everybody knows about this!" If so, are there any other really cool recycling programs I should know about? I know you can recycle old cell phones by donating them to women's shelters and places like that. Any others that I've missed?


  1. Sounds like a great idea, especially if it will lead to more nice cushy surfaces that aging boomers can work out on without destroying our joints!

    My problem is that I become emotionally attached to old running shoes. It's too hard to throw them out if they were well-loved and comfortable!

    So I keep all kinds of "spare" pairs for theoretical yard work which I never seem to perform. (Even as a kid I had this problem and would rescue my holey (not holy) Keds out of the trash when my mom tried to throw them away).

    This recycling program may need to come with a complimentary counseling session on "letting go."

  2. I'd heard about it a while ago. And I'd thought I'd heard about it on Snopes as being a debunked urban legend, but the myth part of it was that you'd get a new pair of shoes if you sent in your old pair to the program. The program still exists, but your reward is the feeling you get from doing something good, and not because you get a pair of spanking shoes.

  3. I remember that myth, fooled (and am certain for some period of time I believed it)!

    as a big purchaser of glasses frames (much to my wallet's chagrin) I always 'recycle' those as well.

    and am with crabby. I hold on to my sneakers until they stink enough to amble on out to the curb and hurl their own damn selves in the trash.


  4. Great idea! The nearest drop off for me is Rehobeth Beach - darn, guess I have to go to the beach. How will I stand it??
    The Whole Foods near me has a bin to accept old cell phones - just FYI

  5. When my running shoes wear out, I'll do that. I'll also get my marathon-running dad (Philadelphia twice, when he was 50 and 51) to tell his running group about it.

    You can also "recycle" leftover Halloween candy by donating it to a food pantry or soup kitchen.

  6. Shouldn't they have some kind of mail-in program? I can't think that driving to Sevierville and back to drop off shoes would really help the environment much.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky, not Tennessee

  7. When I'm done with my running shoes, I thought they were, as said in the Princess Bride, all dead! Now I find from the wizards of recycling that they are only mostly dead! Great idea!

    Dr. J

    PS Crabby, you don't bronze them for bookends :-)

  8. I watched my dad, a lifelong marathoner, snap an Achilles, get knee surgery twice and end up flat on his back for 3 months after neck surgery for a disc problem - all from running. And he thinks a lot of it was from wearing the same pair of shoes for 14 years. So I'm kind of neurotic about getting new running shoes:) And yeah, I recycle my old ones. If they are still in decent condition, I give them to the thrift store. If not, I take them to REI for recycling. (You guys have REI in Canada?)

  9. Charlotte - what's REI?
    the recycling program sounds like a very good idea, wonder when they'll realize that Canadians don't ALWAYS wear mukluks......

  10. Charlotte-
    REI recycles shoes, too?
    THAT is good to know, for those of us who live nowhere near those nike spots. REI is everywhere!

  11. Yet another great idea! I wish they did take cleats, I seem to go through a pair every 6 months!

    Good work.

  12. There was a link to an address where you could mail in shoes as well.

    The Nike campus has a track made from this recycled rubber; it's kinda cool. And I didn't know that REI would recycle too!

  13. and here I thought the post was going to be about me - Jacq! (Jack) same difference :-)

    ok, recycling is a tad important so i wont be soooo offended!

  14. My 24Hour fitness has a drop-off bin at the sign in desk just for these recycled shoes! Perfect. I threw my old ones in the gym back and just left them there.

    Also, the US Post Office (and other places) have free mailers to send off your inkjet cartridges to be recycled.

    And there is program (though I've lost the link) to recycle sport bras to women in 3rd world countries. (what did I do with that link?)

  15. Yay. I realized yesterday that my old shoes aren't even good for kicking around in anymore, they are so worn out.

    Your timing, ladies, is impeccable.

  16. oooooh, Crabby, did you hear that? We're impeccable! Our timing, at least

    I'd never heard of a plan to recycle sports bras before, and the free mailers sound excellent!

    Bag Lady? REI is a chain of store in California, Oregon, Washington. (I think it might have branched out a bit.) They sell sports equipment and used to allow you to take your dog into the store while you shopped.

  17. Sorry, Jacq, I misspelled the original title. My bad :(

  18. And now I really have no excuse to not get rid of my old shoes and go buy new expensive ones. hehe.

    I'm definitely asking my 24 Hour about its shoe recycling program. There are no REI's in my area, and our closest recyling center is 20 miles away.

  19. Hmmm....used sneakers... I wonder what those tracks smell like. OK that was a dumb comment, but I had to get it out of my system!

    Thanks of the info! I've been needing new sneaks, and now I know what to do with the old ones! =)

  20. There's also a program where you can send in old cell phones to be re-vamped and sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't have the website, but I'll post it as soon as I do, if anyone wants it.

  21. I would love to do that. However, I have the issue of one of my legs being shorter than the other so one shoe always has a lift added to it. It would very much mess up anyones legs who doesn't have one thats the exact amount shorter as mine is!

    Also, I keep my running shoes up until they're COMPLETELY worn out... thats when they're the most comfy!

  22. Actually, what they do with the shoe is separate it into 3 parts, then use the separated parts to create a rubber-ish material that's used to cover tracks, playgrounds, etc. Doesn't matter if the left and right shoes are worn down differently -- they're going to look /really/ different by the time the recycling has finished!

  23. I know that my high school had a shoe drive this spring. It was a huge success!

  24. Thank you for posting this! I have about 4 pair of worn out running shoes that I can't just throw out. I also can't justify giving them to Goodwill because they are gross and stinky. Now I know what to do with them!

  25. That sounds like a wonderful program. We have an ECO station here in Edmonton that takes everything, computers to yard waste, paint, mattresses, you name it. There is a fee for certain stuff, but not everything. Hmmm, I may have to do a post about it and our Reuse store. I have to look into where I can recycle my trainers too now.

  26. If you have a Fleet Feet running store near you, call and ask them if they are accepting donated shoes. The Fleet Feet stores in the St. Louis Area have donation boxes for used shoes. I don't remember the cause that they go toward off the top of my head though, but they would be able to tell you if you call!

  27. Speaking of Canada,


    I'm afraid I don't run. Sigh. I know, I know. Which means my running shoes never really wear out. But - if they did, I would totally recycle them!

  28. Oh, lots of great ideas here. I tend to wear them into the ground, though and then toss them. I should look into recycling them if they'd even taken 'em!

    OK, ear worm! I have "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" going through my head right now.

  29. Baggie, Reb, Leah and I are pooling our old shoes together and mailing them off to Merry who will deliver them to the appropriate depot on our behalf. No need to thanks us.. really.. happy to do it! ;)

  30. Oh gosh.

    You shouldn't have. Really.

    O! Canada!

  31. hey interesting post :)

  32. This sounds like a really cool idea. I havent actually heard of it before. I have heard of recycling old cell phones, however not old sports shoes.


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