News / Old sneakers get new life in Tempe

Old sneakers get new life in Tempe

15,000 used athletic shoes to be picked up Monday for recycling

TEMPE, Ariz. - An estimated 15,000 used athletic shoes collected in
Tempe over the last four years will be picked up Monday morning and
recycled for their next life as sports and playground surfaces.

The City of Tempe, in partnership with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program and
the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), collects and recycles any brand
of used athletic shoes. The collected shoes are recycled, ground up and
used in the creation of new sports and playground surfaces.

The first-ever load of shoes from Tempe - about 15,000 shoes - will be
picked up for recycling this Monday, July 21, at 8 a.m. at the city’s
Public Works Field Services yard, at 55 S. Priest Drive. The facility is
located on the northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway,
just south of the Loop 202 freeway. Crews will be using a forklift to
load pallets of containers filled with shoes. 

The idea to participate in Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program was first
introduced in a City Council Committee chaired by Councilmember Ben
Arredondo. Arizona State University coordinated the first collection on
Earth Day 2004. Since then, it has been a true community effort, with
Tempe residents and others recognizing the value of the program and
dropping off their worn-out athletic shoes.

Tempe’s collected shoes will go to the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycling
center in Wilsonville, Ore., where they will be processed into a
material called Nike Grind. The product is then used by Nike’s licensed
partner companies for creating athletic surfaces, such as tennis and
basketball courts.

Tempe recently paid to resurface its tennis courts at the Kiwanis
Recreation Center using Nike Grind material. The surface was installed
by Nike Grind licensee Rebound Ace. The resulting surface is
environmentally friendly and its cushioned feel is often praised for
being easy on players’ joints.

Tempe will continue collecting shoes as part of its overall recycling
efforts. There are seven permanent locations where anyone can drop off

* Arc Thrift Store, 201 W. Southern Ave., Suite 39
* ASU Student Recreation Center, 400 E. Apache Blvd.
* Kiwanis Recreation Center 6111 S. All-America Way
* Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Road
* Tempe South Police Substation, 8201 S. Hardy Drive
* University Presbyterian Church, 139 E. Alameda Drive
* Westside Multigenerational Center, 715 W. Fifth St.

About the National Recycling Coalition
Founded in 1978, the National Recycling Coalition, Inc. (NRC) is a
nonprofit organization representing all the diverse interests committed
to the common goal of maximizing recycling to achieve the benefits of
resource conservation, solid waste reduction, environmental protection,
energy conservation, and social and economic development. Its 4,000
members include: recycling and environmental organizations; large and
small businesses; federal, state and local governments; and individuals.
The NRC is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of recycling,
and also source reduction, composting and reuse, by providing technical
information, education, training, outreach and advocacy services to its
members in order to conserve resources and benefit the environment. For
additional information, visit

About Nike Reuse-A-Shoe and NikeGO
Reuse-A-Shoe is an integral part of NikeGO, Nike’s long-term commitment
to promote healthier lifestyles for kids through physical activity.
Since the Reuse-A-Shoe program began in 1993, Nike has processed for
recycling more than 16 million pairs of athletic shoes and helped donate
more than 170 sport surfaces, called NikeGO Places, to communities
around the world. The surfaces use Nike Grind material as a component of
the total surface composition representing an approximate number of
recycled shoes in each surface. Kids win because many of these sports
surfaces are located in communities where they wouldn’t otherwise have
access to high-performance sports surfaces. It’s also a win for the
environment, as thousands of pairs of athletic shoe material are
diverted from landfills. Nike processes for recycling 1-2 million pairs
of athletic shoes each year. For more information, visit and