Australia imports over 25 million pairs of running shoes yearly, and almost all of these end up in landfills eventually.
Hence, the synthetic, non-biodegradable rubbers and plastics constituting these shoes also pile up in landfills. Quite unfortunate, right?
These shoes could have been worn by the less fortunate, or they could have been upcycled into something more valuable, anything but a pitiful stay in landfills, which consumes limited landfill space and wastes the efforts and talents put into creating these shoes.
What are alternative pathways for old shoes?
Australia has taken steps to end this wasteful practice by supporting the Australian Sporting Goods Association’s (ASGA) TreadLightly’s free collection and recycling of sports footwear since 2021.
Specifically, the Australian Government provided a grant of $998,531 to support the operations of ASGA TreadLightly’s 500 collection sites and help realise their goal of recycling a million pairs of sports footwear annually.
However, the said project is only set to run until January 2023. You might ask, what else can we do with old shoes once the project ends? Fortunately, the Land Down Under is a lover of sustainability and offers various ways to best dispose of your beloved shoes responsibly.
Donating to the needy
If your shoes are still in good condition, donating them to charitable institutions and organisations is very much recommended. This way, you’re diverting shoes from landfills and giving them a new purpose through their new owners.
Some options you could look into are the following:
They are an Australia-based non-profit organisation of runners who want to give something back to communities in over 18 countries. Specifically, they collect running shoes all over Australia for those living in homeless shelters, orphanages, indigenous tribes, and victims of abuse and calamities.
As of today, they’ve already donated 93 000 pairs of shoes. If you want to contribute to this number, you may donate sports shoes to Shoe Collectors or nearby drop-off points, which are usually found in schools and churches.
Shoes4Soles turns old shoes and clothes into an opportunity to help those in need. Specifically, they focus their efforts on distributing relief, like shoes, around the world, fighting poverty by establishing small businesses selling used shoes and clothes, protecting the environment by diverting waste from landfills, and empowering women across the globe.
To donate your old sneakers, drop them off at Mount View Primary School in Glen Waverly (Victoria) or contact the organisation at +61 451 596 386 or visit their website.
While donating your shoes is always the best options, we encourage everyone to do prior research first to determine what shoes you really need. This is especially the case for running shoes since they are bought purely for a functional purpose.
Do your research and know exactly what you’re getting to improve your chances of enjoying and keeping them for the longest time possible!
Recycling torn and worn shoes
Another option you could explore is good old recycling. This is best for shoes that are too worn to be repurposed or donated.
Luckily, Australia has a bunch of options for you. Some promising ones are:
Save Our Soles sell recycled flooring made of recycled shoes and rubber from tyres. They also collaborate with retailers to extend the reach of their cause. Consequently, these partners (i.e. Hush Puppies, Converse, and Bared) install recycling bins in their stores for shoes.
Apart from ASGA’s TreadLightly project, your local councils have facilities you can count on for free recycling. Simply give your council customer service a call and see if they’re accepting running shoes.
Upcycling to unleash creativity!
We all know about the benefits of recycling but not how much fun it could be. Instead of sticking to old recycling techniques, why not up your game with upcycling? Get your creative gears and cogs running by turning your old sneakers into something more fun and valuable!
Here are some upcycling shoe ideas you could try out at home:
- Painted Shoes
- Ring Rack
- Wine Bottle Holder
- Old Boot Birdhouse
Hiring Sydney rubbish removal services
If you’re too busy or occupied to prepare shoes for donation or recycling, you can always count on Aussie Junk Sydney to handle them.
Like you, we also want to do our bit for the environment and those in need. Hence, you can trust
Our expert junk removalists will gladly ensure that your shoes will be sorted accordingly and those still deemed wearable or recyclable will safely arrive in charities or donation centres.
Since we operate 24/7, you can avail of our services anytime convenient for you. Simply call us at 0435 569 921 or visit our website for a free quote. Your old shoes are sure to be disposed of in the best way possible with us.