Thursday, January 22, 2009

Requiem to a Shoe

What do you do with those old sneakers when they have outlived their glory days? I'm not talking nice expensive shoes you wore a few times and don't want any more. I'm talking about the shoes you've had for years, like since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The fit-like-you've-never-taken-them-off, smell-like-you've-never-taken-them-off, more-hole-than-shoe shoes. Uh-huh, you know what I'm taking about.

I've had these shoes (to the right) for four years, and I wore them right up until the left sole became completely detached from the body. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get rid of them; sure I could just toss them in the trash, but what a waste! Plus, everywhere that accepts donations is restricted to "gently used items," which these shoes most defiantly aren't.

But there is a solution! Nike Reuse-a-Shoe collects old shoes and makes them into tracks and playing fields for schools and communities.
"Clean out your closet, take a peek under the bed and ask your friends and family – chances are, you'll find a few pairs of kicks lying around that have seen better days. When it's time to say goodbye, bring your athletic shoes to any Reuse-A-Shoe drop-off location – there are more than 300 around the world... Keep in mind, an individual person can bring up to 10 pairs of shoes at one time – more might overwhelm our collection bins. If you're not near a drop-off location, you can also mail your worn-out sneakers to our recycling facility – but please, only mail your shoes if you have to, as shipping small numbers of shoes to our facility creates a larger carbon footprint."

Well what about those not-so-gently used clothes, you ask? The picture on the left is of a jacket I have had since 6th grade, that makes it 6 years old, and I got it at a value village, so who knows how old it really is. Having lived through so many years of Seattle rain, frequent falling over, and my more recent interaction with a door jam, it doesn't resemble a nice leather coat anymore, so much as a severely botched experiment. Multiple severely botched experiments. While I am finally resigned to buying a new coat this weekend (at the local Goodwill) I cannot bring myself to toss this one out, at least not in the trash. Retex Northwest, in Mill Creek, Washington accepts donations of "unwanted cloths, shoes, backpacks and other textiles," in any condition. "Collected textiles and shoes are shipped to overseas grading stations where they are sorted by size, season, gender, and condition... then shipped to countries which are experiencing severe shortages of even the most basic clothing. Garments which are no longer wearable can be made into 'rags' or pulled apart and reprocessed into fibers for paper, upholstery, and insulation materials. Cloths which can’t be recycled are composted whenever possible. Less than 5% of the unused clothing will end up as solid waste."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yikes! That shoe looks like it might eat me. k8

Anonymous said...

Interesting article in today's Seattle Times about how the cobblers (shoe repair) are thriving, in addition to other creative ways people are saving or cutting back.
http://tinyurl.com/b3e7ot

lynna said...

Larkin: Wow; that is quite the wardrobe. I have this favorite yellow, purple, green striped turtle neck shirt that I have not been able to give up. It is frayed on many edges and I always feel kind of poor when I wear it. Almost as if I should be embarrased that my clothes are ragged. After seeing that shoe and coat, um, I think my shirt just might be in good shape! I think I will keep it a little longer. I never liked Nike as I thought they used too many child sweat shops and their shoes were way overpriced but I will have to re-evaluate my bias after reading about the Reuse a shoe. Thank you for broadening my horizons. Lynn