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Nike kicks off door-to-door recycling service

Nike is tapping into the on-demand mindset of consumers. It has launched a unique sneaker subscription service that makes it easier for parents to recycle shoes their kids have grown out of.

The Nike Adventure Club programme sends parents new sneakers by mail as often as they like: every month, every two months or once a quarter. A specially designed box in which the shoes are delivered can then be used to return old shoes that no longer fit. The ‘Adventure Club’ provides shoes for kids aged 4-10 years old.

Other brands may also be recycled through the new scheme. If needed, consumers can order pre-paid recycling bags online to return even more shoes.

If the sneakers are in good condition, Nike donates them to a non-profit organisation for reuse. If they have reached the end-of-life stage, Nike recycles the shoes through its Grind programme. This means the sneakers are cleaned, broken down and transformed into other products. Applications include running tracks and playground surfaces.

However, global shoe sales and recycling practices have not evolved in tandem. Consider this: between 14 and 19 billion new pairs of shoes are bought worldwide every year and Statista estimates that the global industry will be worth over US$ 370 billion (EUR 330 billion) next year. Roughly a third of this is children’s shoes – not surprising when youngsters need new ones every few months.

While more shoes are being donated to charity these days, a large volume is still landfilled. Indeed, only around 15% of shoes are recycled in America each year, according to the US Environment Protection Agency. It estimates that US consumers throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year and these can take 30 to 40 years to degrade.

Did you know? The top five markets for shoes are China, the US, the UK, Germany and France.

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