When you’re combing through a thrift store, perhaps you wonder about an item’s previous owners. Why did they get rid of it? Was it beloved or barely used?
A new partnership aims to help answer this question for new owners of used footwear in developing countries, putting them in the shoes of the donator, both literally and figuratively.
Reuse is a main draw when it comes to thrift shopping, and it’s also the objective for recycling purveyors Recyclebank, the company that incentivizes recycling with deals and discounts from local and national businesses, and ShoeBox Recycling, a for-profit Pennsylvania shoe recycler. Together, the two businesses are partnering to reward the public for recycling their former footwear.
300 million pairs of reusable shoes are tossed into landfills each year, according to Recyclebank, which means the people who would want them will never have an opportunity to get their hands on them – or feet into them. Recyclebank rewards recycling shoes the same way they do plastics, cardboard and aluminum. Except with shoes, there’s a story. The next owner becomes what the two companies call your “SoleMate.”
“We want to humanize the process and encourage people to share their shoes and shoe stories by placing a note inside their shoe to find the person who will ultimately be their future owners,” says Lisa Pomerantz, “Queen of Sole” at ShoeBox Recycling in a press release. “No matter what we do in life, shoes are a part of our story. When we connect people from different cultures together as SoleMates, we can help make the world a smaller, greener and friendlier place with something as common as our shoes.”
ShoeBox Recycling supplies the UPS shipping label. You just need to package and ship to ensure your shoes see new life. All shoes collected are set to be distributed and resold in developing countries that can use affordable access to footwear.