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Recycle Those Sneakers at West Stride’s Earth Day Event and More

April 19, 2013

The Life of a Sneaker

Bring your sneakers to West Stride this weekend and fill the 1-800-GOT-JUNK truck with Sneakers for GOTR

Bring your gently used sneakers to West Stride this weekend and fill the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck with Sneakers for GOTR

Runner’s World recommends replacing running shoes every 300 to 400 miles depending on your running style, body weight and the surface on which you run. That could be two, three or more times a year.

You only need one pair of old shoes for yard work or honey-do projects, so what to do with those old shoes? Recycle them, give them to a local charity, leave them in the basement till they rot or use them for planters in the backyard?

According to GreenLiving, traditionally made shoes have a high environmental cost. Not only do they use a substantial  amount of virgin materials, which use many resources to grow and manufacture, but they are difficult to recycle. Many shoes are made of multiple components, for instance leather, plastic, rubber and resin, each of which has special recycling requirements. Many recycling facilities including the City of Atlanta, do not accept shoes for recycling, which means that the shoes will end up in a landfill.

Enter GreenSneakers, a non-profit that collects used tennis shoes in the US and makes them available as affordable footwear in developing countries or given to agencies handling large scale disaster and humanitarian relief efforts.

GreenSneakers drive at GOTR 5K

GreenSneakers drive at GOTR 5K

Girls on the Run of Atlanta (GOTR) has partnered with GreenSneakers for the past three seasons in an effort to keep those running shoes out of landfills, as well as to raise funds for GOTR. GreenSneakers pays charities such as GOTR 50 cents a pound for the sneakers; a pair of adult running shoes averages around two pounds, which averages $1 per pair for GOTR. The shoes, and the funds, add up. Since 2011, GOTR has collected 4,801 pairs of shoes, raising $2,400.50 for GOTR. With these funds, we were able to provide 14 scholarships for GOTR girls!

Galloway High School Student Allana with her sneaker collection

The Galloway School Student Allana with her sneaker collection

Doug Bartels, Executive Director of GreenSneakers, says, “GreenSneakers is a simple, effective and conscientious way to meet local and global needs. It just makes sense to reuse what we have, in this case reusing tennis shoes to help people in some of the poorer countries throughout the world. We value our partnership with Girls on the Run of Atlanta and are proud to support their 5Ks and the work that they do locally in Atlanta. It’s great to see the mound of running shoes that you collect at your 5ks. Keep up the good work.”

If you have old sneakers in your closet, now is the time to give them a new life with GreenSneakers and Girls on the Run of Atlanta. 

  • Bring your used sneakers to West Stride and fill up the 1-800-Got Junk? Truck during Earth Day Weekend, April 19-21.
  • Bring your used sneakers to the Girls on the Run of Atlanta Spring 5K on April 27th. You can drop them off with GreenSneakers in the Northcreek Parking Lot between 7 am and 8 am.
  • Join companies like Piedmont Healthcare and ING and host your own GreenSneakers drive at your office or school any time of the year. We’ll coordinate a shoe pick up at your location(s). Email info@girlsontherunatlanta.org for more information. 
Georgia Tech Women's Athletes Sneaker Drive

Georgia Tech Women’s Athletes Sneaker Drive

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