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Inspiring People to Care for the Earth


Volunteers Sort Shoes

Volunteers Sort Shoes

Volunteers Sort Shoes:

  • Good Shoes to Donate
  • Old Shoes to Recycle
  • Light Up Shoes - remove batties
    before recycling

Shoes for Recycling

Shoes for Recycling 

   Shoes for Recycling are counted and boxed
   for the duration of the collection (around May).

Pickup At the End of Collection

Forklift used to load shoes at the end of collection

   At the end of the collection, SCARCE rents a
   forklift to load the shoes into the truck.

Gym Shoe Rescue Project Print E-mail

SCARCE  is no longer collecting shoes for the Nike ReGrind program.  Unfortunately Nike is no longer collecting shoes for recycling.

2013 Shoe Collection Dates:

10,186 shoes sent to Nike!



2012 Shoe Results:

10,621 shoes sent to Nike!













How does it work?

Shoes are collected throughout the DuPage county area.  Volunteers from local organizations, including businesses, schools, scout groups, and churches, host gym shoe drives and volunteer to sort and count the shoes.  Many of the wearable "good" shoes are taken out and donated for reuse before they even reach the SCARCE garage.


SCARCE coordinates the collecting, sorting, reusing, and counting of the shoes and purchases the gaylords (giant boxes) in which the shoes to be recycled are stored.  At the end of the collection, SCARCE rents a forklift to move all the shoes into the Nike truck that comes to get the shoes. The month-long collection, which takes place during April and May, is an expensive project and donations to offset the costs are greatly appreciated.



What happens to the shoes?

Pairs of shoes in wearable condition are donated to local charities and resale shops for reuse. Single wearable shoes are donated for use by amputees.  The remaining unwearable shoes go to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program, which turns worn-out gym shoes into new products.  Nike recycles the shoes into three “Nike Grind” materials.  Nike Grind rubber, from the shoe outsoles, is used in track surfaces, playground surfaces, and new Nike products.  Nike Grind foam, from the shoe midsole, is used as cushioning for outdoor basketball and tennis courts.  Nike Grind fiber, from the shoe upper, is used in cushioning pads for indoor courts.  By recycling old gym shoes, Nike decreases the environmental impact of consuming new raw materials and saves the materials from being wasted and sent to landfills.  To learn more, visit Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe Program.


How can YOU help?

1.  Our small, but mighty, non-profit needs your help to keep this project kickin'.  It's $50 to cover the cost of one gaylord box of shoes.  That $50 pays for the gaylord box, tape, pallet and other supplies needed.  We ship out over 35 boxes each year.  If you're collecting shoes, consider taking up a small donation from everyone to cover the cost of a box. 

2.  Anticipating an even bigger collection in 2013, we are looking into getting a portable storage container for the shoes during our collection.  Feeling generous?  $500 would cover the cost of a portable storage container!

3.  Throughout the collection, we need help identifying the wearable shoes and delivering them to donation locations (i.e. GoodWill, Salvation Army).  We also need help as the final collection day approaches.  The Glen Ellyn Kiwanis Club helps us with removal of batteries from light up shoes, but we need help with sorting, counting, boxing and other last minute details.




Tips for Collecting Shoes

-Collect gym shoes only

-Single gym shoes are acceptable

-Tie pairs together with laces so we can find the pairs for reuse

-Acceptable:  Worn-out shoes, dirty shoes, shoes with holes, shoes without laces

-NO cleats, flip flops, dress shoes, heel shoes


If you bring a large amount of shoes, you can help by sorting them into the groups shown below.  Place them in boxes and, on each box, write the type of shoe and number of shoes inside.  Thanks for your help!  

-Broken, worn down,torn, or unwearable gym shoes (no cleats)

-Kids light-up shoes

-Wearable single shoes

-Wearable pairs



Fill out the online registration form.

Mon - Fri: 9am - 4:30pm

SCARCE Tour Video

Donating to SCARCE Rescue Programs VIdeo

Recycling Gym Shoes All Year Long

SCARCE collects gym shoes in the spring. What about the rest of the year?

  • Keep a box for old gym shoes in your garage or basement, and bring them to SCARCE during the SCARCE Shoe Rescue each spring.
  • If the shoes are still in good shape, donate them to the closest resale shop (e.g. Good Will, Discoveries in Warrenville)
  • Take old shoes to a Nike Store - they take shoes at the Nike Store in the Aurora outlet mall.<br>


Light Up Shoes Result in Hazardous Waste

Light up shoes contain batteries (hazardous waste), if the shoes end up in the landfill. Please consider this when buying your shoes for your kids. We do not re-use light up shoes. We remove the batteries before sending them to Nike to be recycled.