It’s true what they say, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
It turns out that the piles of old shoes collecting dust in your cupboard can help make a great surface floor in a retail outlet, a sturdy, durable yoga mat or even a running track. With an estimated 25 million pairs of shoes placed in landfill each year in Australia, it’s a very real waste problem. Particularly when you consider that the unwanted shoes we throw into our bins can spend over 1000 years decomposing in landfill. This presented a problem. A problem that needed an immediate and innovative solution.
Enter the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA). Representing brands, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, ASGA is the sporting industry’s leading voice. Working alongside some of the country’s biggest sporting retailers, including Rebel Sport, JD Sports, SportsPower, Adidas, New Balance, Converse, Globe, Nike and ASICS, the company launched the Save Our Soles program; an industry funded, collaborative program hoping to reduce the sporting industry’s contribution to landfill. In a bid to establish supply chain stability, Save Our Soles was established to divert worn out sporting shoes from landfill, instead converting these shoes into useful, recycled material.
The ASGA, alongside major sporting retailers, has outlined several major sustainability focused outcomes for the program, including:
• Reducing the environmental impact of footwear sent to landfill each year.
• Develop a scalable model for sports shoe recycling programs Australia-wide.
• Promote participation in positive, end-of-life programs across the supply chain.
• Reclaim at least 100 tonnes of pre-used sporting material for repurposing.
Initially trailed in Victoria during 2019, the program now operates in 100 stores across the state, with plans to soon extend the program all throughout Australia.
According to statistics released by the City of Greater Geelong, Rebel Sport Geelong is leading the charts as the location to collect the most pairs of shoes, with over 3000 dropped off at the store since the program commenced. Rebel Sport Geelong, Rebel Sport Waurn Ponds, SportsPower North Geelong, Colac and Warrnambool, and Globe Shoes Torquay all participate within the program, with over 100 collection points across Victoria.
If you’re a resident of the City of Greater Geelong, you can also subscribe to the Rethink Your Rubbish e-newsletter, where you can find out where recycled products are making an impact.