Making Used Shoes Into Playgrounds

Nike Reuse-a-Shoe drive in Mahwah Thursday will help make playgrounds

A group in Mahwah is looking for those old pairs of sneakers hiding at the back of your closet.

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program collects used pairs of sneakers and recycles the rubber, foam and fabric used to make them. The old shoes are ground up and processed at Nike factories into what the company calls “Nike Grind.”

The Grind materials can then be used, according to the Reuse-a-Shoe website, to make surfaces for all types of athletic facilities, from “running tracks and basketball and tennis courts to playgrounds and even synthetic turf fields. [S]ports surfaces of all types can incorporate Nike Grind into their design.”

The material can also be used to make new shoes.

The company said it launched the Reuse-a-Shoe program as a means to cut down on waste and to foster a more sustainable business model. But, in order for it to be successful, Nike needs a lot of old shoes. It takes about 2,500 pairs of shoes to make enough Nike Grind for an outdoor basketball court, the site says.

Thursday night, the Mahwah Municipal Alliance’s will be hosting a Reuse-a-Shoe sneaker drive at the south lot of from 7-8 p.m. The drive is being run by the about 200 students attending this year’s YLA.

According to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe website, follow these guidelines when deciding what to donate:

  • Athletic shoes and LIVESTRONG wristbands only
  • You can recycle any brand of shoes
  • No shoes containing metal
  • No cleats or dress shoes
  • No wet or damp shoes
  • No sandals or flip-flops
  • No other types of armbands/bracelets

Get more information about Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program here.


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