Nike Launches Pilot Program for Curbside Shoe Recycling
Beaverton, OR - Over the first two weeks of June, residents of Laguna Beach, California were able to take bags of used athletic shoes out to the curb along with aluminum cans, newspapers, and other recyclables. The city's 9,800 households served as the pilot program aimed at recycling more athletic footwear for Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program.
"We want to take responsibility for our product through its entire life," said Bill Malloch, Strategic Director- Footwear Sustainability. "Product innovation and performance are our first priority. But we feel it is important to take our responsibility one step further- once the consumer is finished using our product, we offer them the option of recycling their old shoes. Shoes in good condition will be donated to charity."
For this pilot program, recycled plastic bags were distributed to every Laguna Beach household on May 18. The bags are designed to hold five to seven pairs of athletic shoes, rubber-banded together. On garbage days, residents simply put the shoe-filled bags out on the curb for pick-up. Once the shoes are collected, the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program will sort, clean, cut and grind them up to create a material called Nike Grind.
"There's still value in product when people dispose of their shoes-either to other people or as Nike Grind," said Malloch. "Through Reuse-A-Shoe we have developed a market for our recycled material. The shoes are processed, materials separated and granulated into Nike Grind. Nike Grind is then used in athletic courts, tracks, fields and playground surfaces."
Each year, the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program collects and recycles more than two million used athletic shoes (not just Nike, but any brand) a year. Since the beginning of the program, some 13 million pairs of athletic shoes have been recycled and Nike has donated 70 athletic surfaces to U.S. communities.