Kids seem to wear out or grow out of sneakers as fast as their parents can buy them, but how can kids and parents prevent their old kicks from ending up in the landfill?
The city of Tucson, Ariz., recently began working with Nike to recycle old shoes into athletic surfaces like basketball courts and playgrounds, the Arizona Daily Star reports. The city’s environmental services department will collect unwanted sneakers of any brand for two weeks at schools in the Tucson Unified School District.
Under Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program, shoes are separated and ground into three streams of material: rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper. Rubber is melted into the surface for new running tracks, the fabric becomes the padding for basketball courts and the foam is made into the tough, but springy surface of tennis courts.
If the shoe recycling campaign is successful, the city says it may try a similar program with old blue jeans, according to the newspaper.