July 1st 2023 3-minute read
Summertime isn’t just about vacations, cookouts, and beachside sunsets. This month is Plastic Free July, an initiative designed to educate and empower individuals to reduce plastic use–including single-use plastic items–and commit to better recycling habits year-round. While products like straws, utensils, plastic bags, or food containers may come to mind, one plastic-packed item might slip your mind: the shoes on your feet.
Afterall, some items when used thoughtfully become essential to everyday life and their durability along with performance can often rely on synthetic mixed materials containing plastics. So what can we dew?
While there are ways to reduce plastic apparel waste–such as donating to thrift stores, it is becoming abundantly clear even donated items are now tossed into a landfill due to lack of adoption. This sends over 200 million pair of sneakers to US landfills each year. You might now be asking yourself “ok but what about recycling”? Since modern footwear consists of various petroleum-based plastic technologies and synthetic materials, fastened together to form our foot coverings. Separating the bits is more trouble than most standard recycling facilities can take on. This is a problem we have seen numerous times throughout all industries which also spawns unique recycling programs to tackle solutions.
Personally speaking, I’ve tried to search for just the right performance shoes that are also are low impact to our environment. In 2008 I ran my first half marathon after a lifelong journey to become more fit (going from couch potato to runner in a short 6 months). The mental health benefits were tremendous and refueled my love for the outdoors. My first running Nikes lasted a year and tracked thousands of miles. I tend to cycle through 2 pairs of running shoes per year with use 5 times a week until they are downgraded to walking shoes for another year of use. I gave been holding on to a bag of old shoes hoping to find them a home or give them new life with no success, until now…
This Plastic Free July, we want to do our part reducing the plastic waste amassed by the sneaker industry, so we are partnering with a dedicated partner, GotSneakers. This recycling company recognizes the difficulty for individuals to recycle their shoes, so they developed a network to either donate or recycle the incoming shoes reusing materials. Since its formation, this incredible nonprofit has recycled over 2.5 million pairs of shoes.
Throughout July, we will work with some of Hermosa’s local businesses, including Redondo Orange Theory, to intercept 250+ sneakers before they end up in a landfill. To donate a pair of old shoes, you can clean them up, knot together the laces, and drop them off at Orange Theory in Redondo Beach or the DEW MIGHTY offices. Just make sure to wipe them clean, knot the laces, and drop off at one of these locations:
Orangetheory: 409 N Pacific Coast Hwy #205, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
DEW MIGHTY Office: 936 Hermosa Ave #107, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Any proceeds we collect will be donated directly to the pollution advocacy group Plastic Pollution Coalition. This epic organization funds outreach projects that reduce plastic waste on a long-term scale, and leading the charge for better business practices at reducing plastic use at the legislative level. As a proud member of the PPC, we are thrilled to dew our part to reduce apparel waste this Plastic Free July!
Great Additional Reads
“Fashion’s tiny hidden secret” via the UN Environment Programme
“What To Do With Beat Up Old Shoes!” via The Eco Hub
“‘Some soles last 1,000 years in landfill’: the truth about the sneaker mountain” via The Guardian
“Synthetic fibres discovered in Antarctic samples show the ‘pristine’ continent is now a sink for plastic pollution” via University of Oxford
Collab with Piper Gourley