Survey reveals that half of our shoes are going to waste!

Ditch your unwanted shoes for Global Recycling Day by participating in TreadLightly’s Great Shoe Cleanout

TreadLightly is calling on Australians to take action against the global waste problem by participating in the Great Shoe Cleanout by recycling their unwanted shoes for Global Recycling Day (18 March, 2023).

TreadLightly is a new national recycling initiative, powered by the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) and recycler Save Our Soles (SOS), helping Australians to recycle their pre-loved sports and active lifestyle shoes by giving them new life and keeping them out of landfill.

New research[1] released by TreadLightly this month shows that the average Australian owns around seven pairs of shoes, but half of them go unworn. The survey reveals that on average, only 3.5 pairs of shoes are worn at least once a month.

Shaun Bajada, Executive Director, ASGA is asking for people to check if they have shoes that are too small, smelly or soiled laying around the house – because they can be put to good use.

“At TreadLightly we are on a mission to help educate Australians about shoe waste and encourage people to give old shoes new life as useful products. Shoes can be recycled, no matter how dirty or over-worn they are.”

“If you have shoes that you no longer wear, there is a good chance that they will one day end up as landfill. Help us to reach our target of recycling one million shoes by June 2023 and join us by participating in TreadLightly’s Great Shoe Cleanout this Global Recycling Day,” said Bajada.

Sarah Wall, NETFIT Founder and TreadLightly Ambassador is encouraging Australians to get involved and clean out their cupboard this Global Recycling Day.

“Netball is just one of many sports that has you wearing through multiple shoes a year. Our NETFIT family is passionate about doing our best to reduce waste and Global Recycling Day is a nice reminder to do your bit for the planet.  All it takes is a quick cupboard cleanout and a trip to your closest drop-off location. Not only does it prevent shoes from ending up in landfill, but it also gives you the chance to get rid of any clutter you’ve been hoarding,” said Wall.

TreadLightly’s Great Shoe Cleanout Tips:

Tip 1: Spark joy! Do you still own shoes or clothes that you haven’t worn in six months or more? Time to give them a new home. They are taking up valuable wardrobe space and creating clutter in your home. Donate them to a local op shop if they still have life in them! Otherwise take your shoes to a local TreadLightly collection point.

Tip 2: Stop punishing your feet.  Studies show that between 63 and 72 percent of people wear shoes that don’t fit the width or length of their feet. Your feet deserve better – recycle them with TreadLightly today!

Tip 3: Let go of sentimental clutter. Our research[2] shows that nearly a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) keep onto their old shoes for a rainy day or for sentimental reasons! It’s time to let go of sentimental clutter. If you don’t need or use it, let it go. In doing this, you can be sure it’s going to a good home!

Tip 4: One in, one out rule. Did you recently purchase a new pair of shoes? Try the ‘one in, one out’ rule. Once you bring a new item into the house, you get rid of another one. By doing this you won’t accumulate more than you need!

To participate in TreadLightly’s ‘Great Shoe Cleanout’ for Global Recycling Day and help keep shoes out of landfill, simply do a cupboard cleanout and take your unwanted sports and active lifestyle shoes to the closest collection point.

TreadLightly now has more than 800 collection points across Australia. To find your closest collection location visit TreadLightly works closely with Australia’s key sporting and active lifestyle brands. For a full list of participating sporting and active lifestyle brands visit

[1] TreadLightly Survey / 10 Thousand Feet (2022-national respondents)

[2] TreadLightly Survey / 10 Thousand Feet (2021)

For any images, further information or to set up interviews with a brand representative, please contact Tara Ballard (contact details: 0436 330 267

About ASGA

The Australian Sporting Goods Association was formed in 1981 to act as the “peak body” representing a broad spectrum of sporting and active lifestyle goods industry participants, including brands, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

ASGA is a leading industry voice on issues impacting the health, trade, taxation, regulation, market research, environmental and sustainability areas of the sporting and active lifestyle industries. It aims to foster the market growth, provide services, and advocate for increased participation in sport and physical activity. ASGA is a leading advocate in the industry and is at the forefront of debate and leads industry opinion.

About Save Our Soles

As Recycling Process Lead, Save Our Soles (SOS) manage all resource reclamation activities, from extraction to end product development. Save Our Soles is committed to ensuring that all Shoes that are imported into Australia and New Zealand are recycled and used in this market. Australia imports approximately 100 million pairs into Australia and New Zealand every year and we have to start reusing this valuable product rather than throwing them into landfill.

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