Alternative ways to recycle
Put in Garbage
NO light-up shoes

Light Up Shoes Contain Mercury

Shoes with lights in them contain mercury so they must be disposed of with other hazardous waste. Find out how to dispose of light up shoes.

Alternative Ways to Recycle


Donate your shoes to anti-poverty non-profit Soles4Souls and they will distribute them to people in need either via direct donation or by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities.


Recycle Through Nike Grind

If you have athletic shoes that have reached the end of their life, the Nike Grind program will give them a new one. They accept any brand of athletic sneakers, but they don’t accept sandals, dress shoes, boots, or shoes with metal (such as cleats or spikes). Most stores will accept used shoes. Find a Nike location.


Native Shoes Remix™ Project

Mail in Native Shoes with a prepaid shipping label, and The Remix™ Project will turn them into materials that can be used to build community playgrounds. Learn more about The Remix™ Project here.

TevaForever Recycling Program

Recycle old Teva sandals and flip flops for free through the TevaForever Recycling Program. Sandals are broken down and reborn as material for rubberized athletic tracks and playgrounds, and their fabric uppers are turned into rug and carpet backing.

Ways to Reduce

Choose Eco-Friendly Shoes

Opt for shoes that are made from natural, biodegradable materials or recycled materials.

Ways to Reuse


If your shoes still have life in them, consider donating them to a thrift store — shoes are often on the most-needed list.



Check out Pinterest for ideas on how to upcycle your old shoes, including creating gardening containers from your old Crocs.

Did You Know?

How Shoes Can Change Lives

Landfills Full of Shoes

Americans throw away 300 million shoes annually, about one pair per person. Many shoes are filled with chemical compounds that can last for as long as 1,000 years in a landfill.