In honor of Earth Day, we’re sharing how you can show some love to the planet when your boots are past the point of well-loved.
We get it- sometimes your old favorite pair of shoes or boots just aren’t cutting it anymore. Maybe they’re just not your style, you no longer have the use for them, or you’re deciding to Marie-Kondo your life. But before tossing them out with the trash, there are ways to give your boots and shoes a second life. We’ve put together some resources on where you can recycle your old footwear to help provide relief, resources and protect the planet.
Donate. Do a quick Google search in your area and you’ll probably find at least a handful of resources dedicated to collecting your pre-owned apparel and footwear, including homeless shelters, women’s shelters, re-sale or consignment shops and more. For a footwear specific donation, check out Soles 4 Soles, where you can find a drop-off location near you or ship them for free. They also have a lot of great resources including starting your own shoe drive or volunteer to give back even more.
Recycle. Terracycle, a New Jersey-based recycler finds buyers for leather shoe parts and bits that can to be turned into flooring and furniture, while plastic becomes containers and soundproofing materials.
Repair. A shoe cobbler might sound like a thing from the past, but there are still people and services who will help to mend your old boots and shoes! If you just can’t imagine parting with your favorite boots that are a bit past “well-loved”, try finding a local shoe repairer. If a shoe repairer just doesn’t exist in your area, try an online shoe repair service, like The Cobblers, My Shoe Hospital, or NuShoe.
Even with recycling, refraining from fast-fashion purchases and investing in elevated basics can also help to provide a more sustainable shoe lifecycle and industry. Durable and high-quality shoes can be cared for longer than some more trendy versions you might only wear for a few months (And pro-tip: leather still lasting the longest and being the easiest to repair).
While protecting the planet and climate change can seem daunting, even the smallest steps towards recycling, donating to worthy causes and taking care of your boots and shoes is worthwhile progress.