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Giving shoe wastage the boot in Victoria

Posted by | February 25, 2020 | Unplugged February 2020 | No Comments

Over 25 million pairs of sports shoes end up in landfill in Australia every year. Shoe components can take up to 1000 years to decompose, but their components can be recycled.

The Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) and Save Our Soles have partnered up to tackle this growing waste stream, piloting a collection and recycling program for end-of-life sports shoes in Victoria. Funded by major sports brands and retailers including New Balance, Converse, Globe, rebel, adidas, ASICS, SportsPower and JD Sports, the program will provide convenient drop off points for consumers to take old shoes, making recycling accessible and easy.

Once shredded, the shoe materials will be combined with end of life tyres to create 100% recycled content sports matting for use in playgrounds, sporting surfaces, gym mats and retail flooring. Save Our Soles founder John Elliot says they hope to roll out the flooring in participating retail partner stores, closing the loop completely.

With years of experience operating its own electronics product stewardship program, ANZRP was engaged as the program Governance Lead, providing project reporting, quality assurance, auditing and risk management services. CEO Warren Overton said ANZRP’s extensive experience managing compliance will provide essential assurance for the program.

“Just like the major electronics companies ANZRP represents, brand integrity for these sporting brands is paramount. Careful planning and conducting due diligence on health, safety and environmental impacts is imperative to providing a robust program that achieves its sustainability goals.”

John Elliot said this is the first time the sporting industry has participated in an industry recycling initiative. “We import 100 million pairs of shoes into Australia each year and the industry has a responsibility to find better solutions than the current practice which usually ends up in landfill. I am really excited that ASGA and ANZRP are involved to give the process credibility and ensure correct governance as we grow this important program.”

ASGA will pilot the initiative in Victoria, and use knowledge gained from the Victorian pilot program to develop a scalable model for sports shoe recycling Australia-wide. All processing will take place in Australia, helping solve a global problem locally.

For more information and a list of participating retail locations, visit www.asga.com.au/sos.