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Goalkeeper wants to save boots for reuse

A former international footballer is backing an appeal to save one million pairs of footballs from landfill.

If successful, the ‘Football Rebooted’ drive will save families money instead of buying new boots as well as 136 000 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to taking 7 000 cars off the road for a year. The campaign is the brainchild of goalkeeper David James who was capped more than 50 times for England and played 572 times in the Premier League for Liverpool and Manchester City, among others.

The ‘donate and claim’ campaign enables people with spare football or astroturf boots to request a special freepost bag to donate them. These boots will be available for anyone to pick up at one of many claim stations that will pop up in parks, training grounds, and at some of the UK’s largest football clubs.

James, 50, who estimates he wore more than 1 000 pairs of boots over a 20-year career, told the BBC he had hoarded numerous pairs. ‘They are really brand new. They could be used in a much better way – for growing kids, or adults. For kids, this is a key area. Parents will know their kids’ feet grow so quickly the boot doesn’t last long enough during a season, let alone for multiple seasons.’

James believes small changes can help towards a better future for the environment. ‘It’s been calculated a million pairs of recycled boots are equivalent to a million households worth of energy for a year. CO2 emissions are a big part of global warming.’

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