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Old shoes? Donate! Really old shoes? Recycle!

Posted May 28 2008 12:00am

It’s pretty fashionable to be “green” right now. I can’t claim to be truly hip to this latest fad, but I have some “waste not want not” tendencies that occasionally coincide with “going green.” Such as…re-using ziplock bags. Turning off lights when I leave a room (thanks, Mom!). Hanging my running shorts and sport bras to dry and wearing them again so I don’t have to do laundry so much. You know…I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that last one. My husband thinks it’s pretty gross. Oh, well.

There’s one thing that’s always bothered me. One question I ask myself, and something I feel guilty about…what do I do with my old running shoes? “They” say to change your shoes every 500 miles, and while I don’t usually listen to what “they” tell me…an eventual change of shoes is inevitable. Between two runners, the used kicks have a way of piling up alarmingly. We both have a hard time throwing them away…but after you clean up a pair to wear around and dirty up a pair as the official “yardwork” shoes, what’s a person to do?

Recycle them. Yes!!! A little quick research gave me a long list of possible donation/recycling outlets. Some places have local drop-off points, but I’m not sure if there are any local to Greenville. For me, boxing up and shipping shoes to somewhere that they can be used is far better than letting them languish in my garage…or rot needlessly in a landfill somewhere.

Nike has a shoe recycling program that turns old “athletics” shoes (of any brand, as they make a point of saying) into playground surface. The program is called “Let Me Play,” and you can learn more about it here .

There are also a multitude of organizations that take used and “gently used” shoes and donate them to less fortunate runners in the U.S. and around the world. A couple of quick lists can be found in this article at Runner’s World and at Run the Planet’s website .

Between Scott, Running Buddy and I, eight pairs of running shoes have been saved from the dumpster. It’s a small thing, but it’s better than the alternative.

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