Emory Recycles’ Reuse-A-Shoe campaign, which collects
old athletic shoes to be ground into material for sports surfaces,
was such a success last spring that it has returned in 2004.
Through April 30, dropoff locations for old athletic shoes will be scattered
across campus just waiting to be filled with footwear that has outlived its usefulness.
Teaming with Nike and the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), Emory Recycles
collected 7,734 pairs of shoes (5.88 tons worth) in 2003; 70 percent of those
were later recycled. This year’s goal is 8,000 shoes with 100 percent recyclability.
“Everyone was very positive about last year’s campaign,” said
recycling coordinator Claire Wall. “Not only did we get a lot of participation
on campus, but we got a lot of donations from school systems. I think every school
in Gwinnett County contributed.”
Indeed, Reuse-A-Shoe represents a significant outreach opportunity
for Emory Recycles, a program of Facilities Management. A good
deal of last year’s
sum came from elementary and middle schools, whose students delivered dozens
of boxes of shoes they had collected. Wall said Emory Recycles is continuing
its partnerships with schools throughout the Atlanta metro area, extending
as far north as Forsyth County.
Dropoff locations for shoes include the recycling sites at the Michael Street
parking deck, Woodruff Residential Center, the Blomeyer and WoodPEC fitness centers,
the Emory Village CVS and the main recycling center on Peavine Creek Drive.
Only athletic shoes can be recycled. They cannot contain metal eyelets, steel
toes, cleats or metal spikes. Dress shoes, thongs, sandals or boots cannot be
recycled, and shoes cannot be muddy or wet. The recycling process grinds old
shoes into material that is used for indoor and outdoor sports surfaces including
tracks, basketball and tennis courts, and FieldTurf.
“We are excited that we have such a wide range of recyclers on board for
year two of the program,” said Nike’s Beth Farnum, Reuse-A-Shoe program
senior manager. “We look forward to strengthening relationships with all
of our community recycling partners as they launch the collection strategy that
works best in their community.” Emory is one of 80 Reuse-A-Shoe partners
around the country. That’s up from 37 nationwide nonprofit partners last
“It was a pilot program last year,” Wall said. “This year the
scope has widened.” Emory is the only nonprofit Reuse-A-Shoe partner
in Georgia, although the campus is not the only place shoes can be collected
for recycling. Nike Town stores, such as the Phipps Plaza store, are one outlet.
Nike, one of Emory’s two partners, manages the logistics
of picking up shoes from the recycling center, while NRC provides
technical assistance not only to Emory Recycles but to all 80 program
The return of Reuse-A-Shoe is just one new recycling effort this spring. Emory
Recycles also has begun a partnership with the Whole Foods Market at the corner
of Lavista and Briarcliff roads. The dropoff site, which was set up in February,
has bins for white and mixed paper, plastic, plastic bags, aluminum and tin cans,
glass, and cardboard. In addition to Whole Foods and CVS, Emory Recycles partners
include the CDC, Wesley Woods and the Clairmont Place Assisted Living Center.