Shoes are an essential part of our daily lives, and many of us have a collection of preloved shoes that we no longer use. However, disposing of these shoes in an environmentally friendly way can be challenging. Shoes that end up in landfills can take hundreds of years to decompose, releasing harmful chemicals into the environment. In this article, we will discuss how to properly dispose of preloved shoes to reduce environmental harm.

Donate or Sell Them

One of the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways to dispose of preloved shoes is to donate them to charities or sell them. There are many charities that accept gently used shoes and distribute them to people in need. By donating your shoes, you will be giving back to your community and reducing the amount of waste in landfills.

You can also sell your preloved shoes online or at consignment stores. This way, you can make some money while also reducing waste. Many people are willing to buy preloved shoes, especially if they are still in good condition.

Recycle Them

Another way to dispose of preloved shoes is to recycle them. Many shoe companies have started recycling programs, where they collect used shoes and turn them into new products. Nike, for example, has a program called Nike Grind, which collects used shoes and turns them into materials for sports surfaces and equipment.

You can also check with your local recycling center to see if they accept shoes for recycling. If they do not, you can search online for shoe recycling programs in your area.

Upcycle Them

If your shoes are no longer wearable, you can upcycle them into something new. There are many creative ways to upcycle shoes, such as turning them into planters, bookends, or even jewelry.

You can also use the materials from your shoes to create something new. For example, the soles of shoes can be cut into shapes and used as non-slip pads, or the laces can be used as ties for plants.

Proper Disposal

If none of these options are available or feasible, you can dispose of your shoes in the trash. However, it is important to do so properly to reduce environmental harm. Here are some tips for proper disposal:

- Remove any non-recyclable parts, such as metal or plastic pieces, before throwing away your shoes.
- If your shoes are made of leather or other natural materials, they can be composted. However, make sure to remove any non-compostable parts before doing so.
- If your shoes are made of synthetic materials, such as plastic or rubber, they cannot be composted. Instead, dispose of them in the trash.


Disposing of preloved shoes in an environmentally friendly way is important to reduce waste and protect the environment. Donating or selling your shoes, recycling them, or upcycling them are all great options for proper disposal. If none of these options are available, make sure to dispose of your shoes properly to reduce environmental harm. With these tips, you can dispose of your preloved shoes in a way that is both easy and eco-friendly.