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Can Shoes Be Recycled

Can Shoes Be Recycled

You probably possess a few pairs of old sneakers, sandals, boots, and loafers. Are you thinking about chucking the old sneakers out and ordering a new pair? Well, that may not always be the right idea. Before you kick those old sneakers to the curb, keep reading this article to learn how you can easily give them life again. 

In 2018, the world produced 24.2 billion pairs of different types of shoes. On the same footwear issue, the U.S Department of Interior claims that more than 300 million shoes are disposed of each year. This massive number of discarded shoes applies to the Americans alone. What about other countries? You could find out that the number of shoes thrown away each year is astonishing. However, this trend can be changed by recycling the old pair of shoes.

Can Shoes Be Recycled

Instead of throwing away your old pair of shoes, you can recycle them. Recycling shoes ensures that they do not end up in landfills where they may take more than thirty years to decompose while still releasing dangerous compounds into the air. Here are the various shoe recycling initiatives that you can use. 


Terracycle offers a program where people can recycle any old pair of shoes they have. To use this initiative, you should visit the Terracycle website and select the box that applies to the type of shoes you wish to recycle. Upon choosing your preferred box, they will send it to you. You can now pack the old pair of shoes, ship them back to Terracycle, and they will take care of it. They can recycle, reuse, or upscale old pair of shoes. 

Note that the website has different boxes for each type of shoe. Thus, you can choose either a sandal box or a sneakers box. For example, if you have a pair of boots you no longer wear, you can still choose its appropriate box, and they will send it to your home. 


A pair of shoes may look worn out to you. However, that does not mean that the same pair of shoes will seem worn out to others. Thus, if you have a pair or pairs of gently used shoes, you should consider Soles4Souls. Find a Soles4Souls drop-off centre near you. Alternatively, you can ship the pairs of shoes for free. Soles4Souls is committed to helping people in developing countries establish and sustain their small businesses that sell donated shoes. Soles4Souls collects unwanted clothes and shoes from different parts of the world. Eventually, they help many people enhance their businesses and keep sixty-six million pounds of textiles away from landfills. 

Reuse-A-Shoe Program

The other good option would be the use of the re-use-A-Shoe program. This method should apply when you do not want to wait to mail the old shoes to the recycling firms. This is a more convenient option since there may be stores near you that provide recycling programs. 

For example, Nike offers a Reuse-A-Shoe program. They recycle old pairs of athletic shoes to give them a new look. Therefore, if you possess any athletic shoes that you no longer use, take them to a nearby participating store. They will receive the shoes and give them a new life. 

American Textile Recycling Service

This is yet another pretty simple and convenient way to dispose of used shoes. It would be best to look for the clothing recycling bins -like the famous American Textile Recycling Service- in your location. They accept both used clothes and shoes. So, it would be a great idea if you do not want to wait to mail the old pair of shoes. You can collect all old clothes and shoes in your house-including those of your children and wife-so that you can complete the tasks at once. 

Up-cycle them

Instead of tossing out your old pair of shoes or even attempting to recycle them, consider up-cycling them. To achieve this, you can give your pair of shoes a new pair of laces, mend the broken parts, and even decorate them. A good cobbler can help you with this at a small fee. 

After up-cycling the old pair of shoes, you can opt to gift it to a friend, use them for activities that do not require shiny shoes, or donate them to any of the programs mentioned above. Besides, you can offer the old shoes to your friends and family who may be in need. They can fix the broken parts to give them a new life. 

What are the dangers of throwing old shoes away? 

Many people prefer throwing away old shoes instead of finding a proper way to reuse or recycle them. Regrettably, most shoes have soles manufactured from Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, which can take up to 40 years to decay. In addition, volatile organic compounds are released into the environment while decomposition is taking place. 

But if you do not wish to throw the old pair of shoes away, there are various proper ways to take good care of them. And NO! You will not spend anything on any of the above initiatives. 

In A Nutshell

Instead of dumping an old pair of shoes in the dustbin, where they may never be useful again, you can opt to give them a new life. Besides, the disposed of shoes pose dangers to the environment because they do not decompose easily. Thus, it would help if you considered recycling the old pair of shoes that you no longer wear. The most sustainable method would be up-cycling the shoes to give them a new life. 

Besides, you can mail them using Terracycle shoe collection boxes, take them to Reuse-A-Shoe program centres, Soles4Souls centre, American Textile Recycling service, or donate them responsibly. To make it easier, collect the shoes in a box. This makes it easy to know which pair of shoes needs to be mailed for recycling. Lastly, do not forget to tie both shoes together using their laces. This tactic prevents the shoes from separating during transportation.