Reuse-a-Shoe Program

From 2004-2015, Monroe County Department of Environmental Services (MCDES) participated in a program with the National Recycling Coalition and Nike, Inc. that allowed area residents to recycle their unwanted athletic sneakers instead of throwing them in the garbage. This program with Monroe County was ended by Nike. These sneakers can continue to be dropped off at Nike Stores for recycling. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program recycles and grinds athletic footwear and turns them into sports surfaces. The program will only accept sneakers that do not contain metal (grommets, eyelets, zippers, tags, etc.). Shoes, boots, clogs, crocs, sandals, flip-flops and sneakers that light-up are also not acceptable.

Note: Monroe County residents may also reuse good condition sneakers by donating them to an organization like those listed here. For unwanted footwear in poor/unreuseable condition, there is no local program available for recycling--the footwear should be placed in the garbage.

Program History:

Chet the Cheetah and the Reuse-a-Shoe Program
Reuse-a-Shoe Program in Action

Since 2004, MCDES--along with Cascades Recovery, schools (Brockport Middle, Brooks Hill Elementary, RIT, SUNY Brockport, SJFC, RCSD #9 School, Park Road Elementary, Nazareth College, SUNY Empire, MCC, Harley Upper School, Munn Elementary, Charlotte High School, Klem South Elementary) and community groups--helped take old defective sneakers and turn them into something that ultimately helped benefit young people around the world.  Sneakers were collected at a high school basketball game, a schoolwide recycle rally or even Pae-Tec Park (now Sahlen's Stadium). Monroe County also hosted a public collection at the Monroe County Resource Recovery Facility in 2006. The municipal collection program was ended by Nike in 2015 in favor of sneaker take-backs at Nike Stores.

Nike separates collected footwear into three main materials (upper fabric, midsole foam and outsole rubber) which is then ground up. Nike has successfully found constructive uses for all of the materials from these post-consumer and defective athletic shoes. Nike GRIND (the ground up sneakers) can become a new soccer field, football field, tennis or basketball court, outdoor track, or even a safe playground surface. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program started in 1993, and has recycled over 16 million pairs of sneakers. One outdoor running track will keep 75,000 pairs of old sneakers out of the local landfill and put to good use. Each outdoor basketball court or a tennis court is made from over 2,500 recycled sneakers. And, a small elementary school playground surface will keep almost 5,000 sneakers out of our landfills.

Getting old sneakers back in the game was a very successful project with about 30,000 pair of sneakers shipped to Nike by MCDES.

More Info

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