Sneaker Reuse Drive Puts Tread on Playgrounds

THE WASHINGTON, D.C.-based National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is helping 25 communities get their recycling game on. The groups are joining Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program, in which the rubber from used and defective athletic shoes are collected, sliced and ground to make Nike Grind, an ingredient in sports surfaces such as tracks, fields and playgrounds.

With NRC's presence, Nike, Beaverton, Ore., hopes to collect 125,000 pairs of shoes with 19 of the 25 participating communities collecting a minimum of 5,000 athletic shoes before June. NRC will be responsible for educating its network of 20 state affiliates and more than 4,000 member recycling organizations and advocates around the country about the shoe recycling program.

After a community registers with NRC and Nike and collects enough shoes to fill a 27-foot trailer (approximately 5,000 pairs), Nike will arrange for the shoes to be picked up and sent to its Reuse-A-Shoe recycling center in Wilsonville, Ore.

Participation in the program entitles sites to apply for two $25,000 grants to be applied toward a new sports surface in their community.

“NRC members are always looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to add new items to their recycling programs,” says Kate Krebs, NRC executive director. “Through this partnership with Nike, we can help them do just that.”