No Man's Land

Jan 23, 2009

Nike Reuse A Shoe Program


Not long ago I posted a story at that was so popular I put it in the Bixby Bulletin hardcopy edition; it had to do with selling used cooking oil which would be used to make fuel. I realized that recycling has come a long way since the days it meant turning milk cartons into bird feeders. “Look, Mommy, a milk carton tree!” Suggesting to someone 30 years ago you’d buy their old cooking oil would be as ridiculous as bottling water and selling it.

As a one-time Brownie Scout leader, I saw many peers “recycle” by turning would-be trash into re-named ugliness. Not a lot more practical than milk cartons was cutting a hole in a plastic bottle, turning it into a carrier with the handle at the top, for perhaps garden tools--not very pretty but at least not hanging in a tree. Some leaders made trash more endearing than ever by having tots paint, “I love you, Mommy,” or the name of a deity on it. It was an unimaginative leader who sent home garden tool carriers which still said such things as Cheer or Tide on the side. But they/we were pioneers.

In addition to aluminum can pyramids, some of you may remember putting soda bottles in the oven and stretching them into sculptures. Recycling then didn’t mean saving something from the trash; it meant bringing the trash into the house or hanging it in a tree.

Even as I tease, to this day I find it difficult to throw into the trash an oatmeal box, coffee can, or potato chip tin. I once got a call from my daughter’s second grade teacher asking if it were true I had enough egg cartons in my garage for the entire second grade. I said it indeed was, and she asked if I would bring them to the school right away for a project. My daughter still tells the tale proudly.

Today, however, everything I once put in the family “Rainy Day Box” for the kids to create with can be recycled if the right destination is found. Destinations are out there. It sometimes just takes some digging.

This week I hit the jackpot. I discovered that old tennis shoes can be recycled. The first source I read on-line took me back to the old bird-feeder days, suggesting that old tennis shoes be used as planters, dog chew toys, or even, yes, sculptures! Everyone needs an old tennis shoe sitting on the grand piano? Or, yes! Why not teach the dog to chew up the old tennis shoes so he’ll never learn the new ones are off limits?

Moving on, I found that unwearable sports shoes may be ground up to make athletic surfaces for kids.

Old tennis shoes, runners, sneakers, or gym shoes can be recycled. Send them to: Nike Recycling Center, c/o Reuse A Shoe, 26755 SW 95th Avenue, Wilsonville, OR 97070. Your old shoes--any brand I suppose--will be ground up to make surfaces for tracks, basketball courts and more for under served communities. They won’t end up in landfills. For more information, visit Nike Reuse-A-Shoe.

Now THAT’S recycling with a purpose! Share other great finds like this with me so I can share them with others.



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