How to Recycle Shoes: 4 Steps to More Sustainable Living

How to Recycle Shoes

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Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by Steal the Style

Over 300 million pairs of shoes wind up in landfills or incinerators in America every year. 

Out of style or lightly damaged shoes don’t belong in the landfill. Tossing out old kicks is not only harmful to the planet, but it’s wasteful, too. You can help save the environment one Earth-friendly shoe recycle a time. 

Keep reading to learn how to recycle shoes the right way. 

1. Donate Them

If your shoes are in good condition, consider donating them to local charities or thrift shops. While they might no longer be “in season,” many people would be happy to wear them. 

Search for local shoe banks or recycling bins, too. Your kicks will either find a new home in someone in need or be recycled. The textile parts of your shoes can be repurposed in many different ways. 

Some sportswear companies will recycle your old kicks, too. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program takes old and worn-out athletic sneakers and breaths new life into them. Drop your old sneakers off at a local Nike store to take part in this program. 

2. Repurpose Them

If you’re serious about sustainable living, start by getting creative with your lifestyle. 

Your $200 pair of running shoes may no longer provide the stability you need for running. The bones of the shoe are good, but they won’t cut it for your long-distance runs anymore. In that case, wear them for a different purpose.

Those old trainers might be great for wearing while you do your yard work. They’re already worn in and comfortable, so you’ll stay cozy as you go about your day.

You haven’t worn your pink pumps in two decades, but they’ll look stunning as a planter. Create a summer wreath from your old plastic flip flops. 

3. Fix Them

Take a good look at your shoes. Are they really knocking on death’s door, or is there a way they can be fixed? A good cobbler can take almost any pair of shoes and revive them.

In the olden days, cobblers would make custom shoes all day long. Now that over 24 billion shoes are made every year, most modern cobblers focus on repairs. They can repair almost any old shoe, even if they seem far beyond saving.

Broken heels, worn-out soles, wrinkles, and broken eyelets are no match for a talented cobbler. 

If you consider yourself to be a handyperson, you could even try tackling shoe repair on your own. 

4. Buy Sustainable Shoes in the First Place

There are many environmentally friendly and eco-friendly companies to choose from. The manufacturers always keep sustainability in mind. They produce less waste during production and are often vegan to boot. 

Footwear manufacturers around the world are making shoes from recycled materials. Plastic water bottles, fishing nets, and even old fabrics can become your next pair. 

How to Recycle Shoes Made Easy

Recycling is not difficult, and the impact of doing so can have a vast effect on our beautiful planet. Knowing how to recycle shoes will make a big difference in your carbon footprint. 

Keep reading our blogs for more tips on living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.