More than just fundraising, find ways to repurpose, recycle and reuse!
Perhaps you have justified the holes in your soles for the last time. Maybe in deciding that your feet deserve an upgrade the time has finally come to part with your favorite pair of footwear. Whatever the case may be, you may still be hesitant to simply toss your old shoes in the trash, and rightfully so. The great news is that there are options to help you be as impactful, environmentally conscious, and sustainable as possible when disposing of your faded fashion! One great way to recycle your old shoes and give them the gift of a second life while raising money for a good cause is by organizing a shoe drive fundraiser.
According to Dr. Sahadat Hossain, the director of the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability, “They [shoes] can take as much as 1,000 years to decompose.” Once your old shoes step into a landfill, they begin to leach chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxic materials into the earth. Natural materials decompose at a much more rapid rate, cotton usually breaking down in about six months, while leather may require 20 to 40 years. Most of our shoes, however, contain plasticizers and other components that stick around a lot longer.
Consider the fact that the current amount of unused pairs of shoes in United States households alone are enough to stretch around the entire world. Now consider the fact that you have the opportunity to reduce the waste that we as consumers create, simply by clearing out the back of your closet, and encouraging others to do the same. Studies have found that the average American has at least six pairs of unused shoes in our homes. It is likely that if not donated or somehow repurposed, many of these shoes will end up in a dump somewhere. running a shoe drive fundraiser is a great way to avoid this consequence and make a positive environmental impact!
Why you should repurpose old shoes – raising value and raising funds
There are countless benefits to repurposing your old shoes. By recycling or donating an old pair of running shoes, the chewed-up heels you have been meaning to get rid of for ages, or that pair of boots the kids outgrew a year ago, you will:
- Provide necessary footwear for less fortunate people living in poverty
- Give new life to an item you presently don’t have use for and is just taking up space
- Organizing a shoe drive fundraiser generates money that will go toward a good cause
- Reduce your own carbon footprint and global landfill waste
- Support micro-entrepreneurs in the world’s developing nations
- Raise money for charity, non-profit organizations, education, medical expenses, etc.
Where to drop-off collected shoes
Fortunately, in recent years, a number of efforts have been initiated to combat the environmental impact that shoe waste causes. Many companies are beginning to look for unique opportunities to be more sustainable and in doing so have created programs that offer invaluable services for those looking to make the world a cleaner place. There are also many local and state level organizations that accept donations if you are not interested in organizing a fundraiser.
One program that has implemented a dynamic approach to how they recycle is Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe shoe recycling program.
This is a free program that encourages donors to package their used shoes and drop them off at particular Nike stores. The materials from these collected shoes are broken down and eventually used to make both athletic apparel and outdoor surfaces. A sustainability loop is closed as old shoes become running tracks, tennis courts, basketball courts, and playgrounds. One limiting factor of this program is that Nike only accepts athletic shoes.
Although Nike does not limit the accepted athletic shoes to its own brand and instead will collect any brand of athletic shoes, some may be left wondering what to do with non-athletic shoes. Many similar programs are unable to accept flip flops, dress shoes, boots, or shoes with metal, like steel-toed work boots or metal cleats.
Corporate programs such as this one are a great step towards reducing global waste, however, they do not offer compensation for any shoes donated.
Angel Bins Shoe Drive Fundraising
When you organize a shoe drive with Angel Bins, you will be paid for every pound of shoes that you collect and donate!
That means that you have the ability to fundraise just by donating something that would likely be thrown out anyway and by getting others to do the same. You can then put this money to good use by funding your favorite nonprofits, school sports teams, PTAs, churches, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, or any number of other charities.
When beginning your fundraiser it is important to keep in mind that gently worn shoes in good condition can easily be resold to Angel Bins. We will then send your old shoes to developing nations to provide less fortunate people with footwear. Angel Bins is able to accept most types of shoes as long as they are wearable, with the exceptions being metal cleats, high heels, and fuzzy slippers.
It may seem strange that the list of items unable to be collected by Angel Bins is so specific. These restrictions make a bit more sense when you consider the fact that many of the people who will end up as the final owner of this footwear live in underdeveloped areas, places often lacking paved roads or sidewalks, making these types of shoes impractical for their daily lives.
Repurpose, up-cycle, reuse, while raising funds
If you find yourself distraught over the idea of getting rid of your shoes and are not quite ready to part ways with your favorite pair, then there are plenty of ways you can give them a new lease of life before recycling or donating by:
- Sewing patches onto canvas shoes for an entirely new look
- Revitalizing worn athletic shoes with a new pair of laces
- Get creative by using sharpies or fabric paint to add unique designs to old shoes
It is important to keep in mind that many of those receiving collected shoes live in places of abject poverty, where the luxuries of online shopping, or being able to peruse the aisles of one’s favorite shoe store simply do not exist. Instead, your used sneakers, dress shoes, flats, sandals, and boots will provide countless people with the ability to literally take the first step towards pursuing employment, education, or anything that requires reliable footwear. As has been said, one man’s trash is perhaps another’s treasure.
To set up your fundraiser today, please call 213-458-9896 or complete our contact form and our fundraising coordinator will help you get started.
Written by Max Weinstone