Time for new school shoes?

Step up for the planet and recycle your old sports shoes this new year

Most Aussie parents know how quickly kids either grow out or wear out of school shoes. They either get handed down or thrown in the rubbish – adding to the millions of shoes that end up in landfill each year.

TreadLightly – a new industry-led national recycling initiative that recycles unwanted sport and active lifestyle shoes and gives them new life as useful products – is calling on parents to start the new year by making a positive impact on the environment. 

TreadLightly is powered by the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) and recycler Save Our Soles (SOS).

Shaun Bajada, Executive Director, ASGA says school shoes are one of the largest contributors of waste that ends up as landfill – taking nearly 1000 years to breakdown – something that can be easily changed.   

“Kids go through school shoes so quickly and as the new school year approaches, many parents will need to buy new shoes. So we are asking parents to think about the end-of-life of old sports shoes and help us to step into a better future. 

“If you have old sports shoes from last year laying around the house, instead of throwing them in the rubbish, step up for the planet and take them into your local sports store to be recycled responsibly,” said Bajada.

The footwear is collected from stores, sorted and taken to a recycling plant here in Australia for further sorting and processing. At the recycling plant, reusable elements like rubber, leather and fibres are extracted and reclaimed materials are then used to make new products like mats and flooring for retail stores, playgrounds and gyms.

“Australians are increasingly conscious of the environment. In fact, our research tells us that three out of four people wish they could do more to reduce their environmental impact. We know parents are busy, but this is something really easy they can do to make a difference, while also educating kids on the importance of looking after the environment,” said Bajada.

TreadLightly is on a mission to recycle one million pairs of shoes by 2023 – saving nearly 500 tonnes of footwear from reaching landfill.

TreadLightly works closely with Australia’s key sporting and active lifestyle brands. For a full list of participating sporting and active lifestyle brands visit www.treadlightly.asga.com.au 

Top 5 ideas to help parents step up for the planet:

  1. Help to educate the next generation: Help younger kids understand the importance of looking after the planet and recycling responsibly.  
  2. Go on a shoe hunt: Engage your kids to help look for old shoes laying around the house, and if they have seen better days, it’s time to recycle!
  3. Spot the difference: Talk about the different elements in a shoe that can be recycled, everything from the shoelaces to the plastic and the fluff inside the sole. Engaging kids is part of the fun.
  4. Drop into your local store: Visit your local sports store to drop your shoes off in a TreadLightly recycling box – it’s as simple as that!
  5. Look out for recycled products: Next time you visit your local sports store, playground, or gym – the flooring might be made from recycled shoes!

For any images, further information or to set up interviews with a brand representative, please contact Tara Ballard (contact details: 0436 330 267 tara@asga.com.au)

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.

Recent Posts


Stay up-to-date & in-the-know with our regular email newsletter

Get in touch