More than 1,000 pairs of worn-out shoes were collected in 2012 as part of an effort by the TREES Inc. Education Committee to prevent shoes from being hauled away to the local landfill.
“We like to encourage recycling, especially of things that can be used and repurposed in our community,” said TREES Inc. board member Joy Sacopulos.
In the spring of 2012 TREES Inc. conducted a shoe collection drive. During that time approximately 800 pairs of shoes where collected at various locations around the community.
While 800 pairs of shoes is a fair amount of waste diverted from the landfill, TREES Inc. did not stop there. The group also staged an end-of-the-year collection on America Recycles Day, Nov. 15.
For the past couple of weeks TREES Inc. members have been working feverishly, sorting through the newly collected shoes. A total of 247 shoes were collected during the week of America Recycles Day, thus raising the total shoe collection to more than 1,000 pairs.
The shoes, which still look good and appear to be in good working order, will be donated to Terre Haute Catholic Charities and Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries.
“There are a lot of ways to help your community and this is one of those ways. We are always grateful to partner with organizations who share our mission. A pair of shoes to a child or a senior can really show hope in their future,” Catholic Charities Agency Director John Etling said.
“Organizations that conduct donation drives on behalf of Goodwill Industries help provide work for people with work-related barriers,” Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Director Bill Tennis said.
TREES Inc. will be shipping all the shoes that are unfit to be worn to the Nike Reuse Shoe program. Nike grinds the rubber from the shoes’ outsoles to make track surfaces, interlocking gym flooring tiles and playground surfacing. The foam from the shoes’ midsoles is used as a cushion for outdoor basketball and tennis courts, as well as futsal fields. The fabric upper of the shoes is used in the creation of cushioning pads for facilities like indoor synthetic courts and wood courts.