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These shoes were made for… re-use

Category: General

Date: 05.11.2013

Time: 11.11

One of the things that comes with the territory of working for an environmental charity is being asked a wide range of environmental questions, often easy, sometimes complex and occasionally bizarre – but almost always with the assumption that you will have the answer.  I suppose it’s a bit like the Dr syndrome but instead of being corned at parties for a diagnosis on a health issue its someone’s sustainable ailments that we get hit with.  In the main I don’t mind at all, in fact I welcome it – we spend our time at PECT trying to help people and organisations go green so when I get asked for help with this its generally a pleasure to oblige.

The latest question I had was relatively simple problem of what to do with old shoes.  Although simple it is a big problem, researchers at Loughborough report that worldwide footwear consumption has doubled every 20 years, from 2.5 billion pairs per year in 1950 to more than 20 billion pairs of shoes produced presently each year.  And shockingly less than five percent of these shoes are recycled, most end up in landfill sites. 

So as it seems a common problem, with not many of us aware of how you can recycle shoes I thought I’d share the options on our blog…

Here is the list of options for shoes in Eco order:
1. Don't buy too many shoes in the first place, cutting out waste before it is generated is always the most sustainable option! 
2. Buy from charities, there are loads of shoes in great condition available, or buy shoes made using recycled materials and eco-friendly processes - again this cuts a lot of the waste out before you even start worrying out how to dispose of them.
3. If they are in good condition donate to a charity shop or your friends and family.  You can drop them in to the charity shop of your choice or you can get free pick-up service from Enterprise Peterborough.  They pick up a range of items including shoes, which they donate to local deafblind charity Sense.  To arrange a collection you just need to contact customer services on 01733 747474. 
4. If they are in poor condition donate to a charity like Shoe Biz where they recycle the shoes and generate money for charity (usually by selling the shoes to a recycling company).  Shoe Biz is working in partnership with UNICEF and Clarks, so you can drop them in to any Clarks store.

Happy recycling!