Don’t you just hate it when your trusty pair of running shoes give out on you? Or when your favorite worn-in T-shirt sustains one too many holes for you to keep proudly wearing it to the gym? You definitely can’t hand these items down to anyone! You could throw them away, but what a waste! If only you could recycle them… Well, you can!
Send your old shoes (any brand) to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program and they’ll be turned into material for a track, a basketball court, a playground or some other new sport-related facility or product. Visit nikereuseashoe.com for more details on their program. Experts say running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, or if you develop regular pain or discomfort. They say tennis shoes must go when tread patterns on the soles are less distinct or smooth spots emerge. And cross-trainers should be replaced every six months or sooner, based on visible wear and tear.
For your old workout clothes, you may send those to Patagonia Clothing and Gear. The company has started an environmentalism initiative called, Common Threads Garment Recycling. They accept a number of different types of fabrics and turn the old used threads into new clothes. For a complete list of what clothing they will take and more information on their initiative, visit their site at, patagonia.com/recycle.
If it’s time for your yoga mat to go, there’s a place to send that too. In early 2008, founder of Recycle Your Mat, Stephanie Stano made it her goal to keep yoga mats out of landfills but turning old yoga mats into the lining material for a laptop bag or donated to a community yoga program. For more information on this program, visit recycleyourmat.com.
So don’t feel bad about your old gym goods going bad, breathe new life into your old gear by recycling them!