Over 1,200 Worn-Out sneakers given new life through Owens, Nike environmental program partnership
June, 2009: PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP: Owens Community College’s Environmental Club is raising environmental awareness by bringing new life to worn-out athletic shoes previously destined for overcrowded landfills.
As a result of the student group’s recent collection drive efforts, over 1,200 donated sneakers will soon find their way to the Nike Recycling Center in Wilsonville, Ore., where they will be ground up and eventually
transformed into an array of new sport surfaces such as basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds.
The College’s Environmental Club recently sorted through the various donated worn-out athletic shoes and prepared them for shipment to the Nike Recycling Center.
Once at the recycling complex, the shoes will be separated into one of three Nike Grind materials, which include rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper. The Nike Grind is then incorporated into playground and sport surfaces as part of partnerships with industry-leading surfacing companies.
“It is important that we find ways to help preserve our environment for future generations to enjoy,” said Molly Jordan of Sylvania, Owens associate of arts general concentration major and Bowling Green State
University environmental policy and analysis major. “These athletic shoes will be given new life as sport surfaces instead of ending up in the bottom of a landfill. I encourage people to help preserve the
environment by participating in recycling programs.”
In addition to the 1,200 shoes donated to Nike, 132 pairs of shoes were viewed as usable and in good condition. As a result, the Environmental Club has chosen to give new life to the sneakers and recently donated them to the Cherry Street Mission in Toledo.
Owens’ environmental sneaker collection drive initiative on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses was part of a collaborative effort with Nike and their “Reuse-A-Shoe” program, which has recycled over
22 million pairs of athletic shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces around the globe. In 2008, more than 1,000 shoes were donated to the student organization’s initial collection drive efforts.