recycling guides style zero waste

where to recycle tennis shoes

Sometimes I feel like we’re always buying new tennis shoes. D and I are pretty active, and we wear our shoes straight into the ground. You should see the soles of his tennis shoes after a year!

In the past, I always felt guilty about getting rid of our old tennis shoes. I mean, clearly most Americans wouldn’t even think of wearing a stranger’s stinky old used tennis shoes. So I usually ended up throwing them away in the trash, while keeping one or two old pairs for dirty yard work and volunteering outdoors.

BUT – did you know Nike will recycle your old tennis shoes?* And they don’t even have to be Nikes – they’ll take any used athletic shoes. (Side note: no flip-flops, dress shoes, or boots. If you consider those athletic shoes, well… I like your style! But Nike’s recycling equipment is designed specifically for the material and dimensions of athletic shoes.) Below is a quick & simple guide to where to recycle sneakers.

You can drop off your shoes at a nearby Nike or Converse store, or mail them to Nike’s recycling facility.

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Nike transfers your donated shoes to a processing facility in Memphis or Meerhout, Belgium, where they’re converted into Nike Grind material.

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Three types of materials are turned into Nike Grind: the rubber from the outsole, the foam from the midsole, and the fabric from the upper. Nike Grind is used to make high-performance athletic surfaces (e.g. tennis and basketball courts, running tracks, athletic fields, playgrounds). Nike also uses Nike Grind to make new footwear and apparel.

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According to Nike, surfaces made with Nike Grind cover about 632,000,000 – nearly enough to cover Manhattan (!!!).

28 million pairs have been recycled so far. Do you have any old shoes to recycle?

*This post is not sponsored by Nike, just a personal recommendation to take advantage of their free shoe recycling program.

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