Recycle Your Sneakers

New Year’s resolution got you putting some extra wear and tear on your sneakers??? Before you toss that overly-worn pair in the garbage, consider recycling them instead. Yes that’s right, you can actually recycle your shoes. If you’re in the club of those who started off the year with good intentions and purchased a new pair of kicks for your workout program… until reality kicked in and you realized you won’t be getting good use out of those shoes after all, then of course, it is preferable to donate them to give someone else a chance to get good use out of them. But for that pair you’ve been running in that no one else would want (eewwwww), Nike offers the perfect solution. It’s called the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program.

So, what exactly does Nike do with all these old shoes? Each shoe and is broken it into three parts, and then each part is recycled into something different. The top foam layer is recycled into springy surfaces used on tennis courts and playgrounds.

University of Rochester employee on her way to drop off sneakers!
University of Rochester employee on her way to drop off sneakers!

The middle layer is used as a padding under the surface basketballs courts. The bottom layer is ground up into tiny pieces and then melted together into running track material. That last part is where people seem to get it and say, “Oh, yeah I think I’ve seen tracks like that” as they make the connection.

If you’re working out in Goergen Athletic Center, recycling your shoes couldn’t be easier. Look for the collection boxes placed under the mirrors in the main locker rooms. Even if you don’t frequent the athletic center you are welcome to drop shoes off at the front desk. For those of you reading this outside of the University of Rochester, click here to find out if there is a drop-off location near you.

Please remember this is for sneakers only. No cleats, boots, flip-flops or other type of shoes aloud.

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4 Replies to “Recycle Your Sneakers”

  1. Hi. I just want to make sure I can still bring sneakers to the front desk at Goergen Athletic Center for recycling (?). Please advise. Thank you for your time!

  2. Yes, sneakers are collected for the Nike Reuse a Shoe program year-round at the Goergen Athletic Center. Collection boxes are located in the main locker rooms, or you can bring them to the front desk if you are not a gym member. Any brand is good, but they must be sneakers; no cleats, boots, or other shoes are accepted. Thanks!

  3. It’s May, 2017. Are you still recycling sneakers? Can you still drop off sneakers at the front desk? Any brand? Thanks.

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