SOS

Stepping into Sustainability

Each year, over 25 million pairs of sports shoes end up as landfill in Australia. With only 1% estimated to be recycled, it’s a waste problem that requires an immediate and innovative solution. The ASGA, Save Our Soles, ANZRP and a number of major sporting brands have come together to create the Save Our Soles Footwear Recycling Initiative to move the needle towards supply-chain sustainability.

With the Australian-first pilot program ready for roll out in Victoria, our goal is to divert worn-out sports shoes (destined for the dump) and convert these once useless waste items into a range useful recycled products.

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The Problem

The disposing of used sports shoes via incineration or landfill is not only a pressing environmental concern, but also a significant waste of valuable resources that have the potential to be reclaimed. Shoe components can take up to 1000 years to decompose – unlike organic waste – and with growing consumer demand for new shoes in Australia, an effective waste-management strategy is timely and critical.

Although some individual brands are currently undertaking valuable footwear recycling programs, there remains a lack of collective initiatives to deal with this issue; reflecting a serious roadblock in achieving sustainability in the broader sporting footwear industry. As a result, now is the time to take large-scale action and close the loop in the Australian sports shoe supply chain

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Our Solution

The Save Our Soles Initiative aims to become the first national, industry-lead product stewardship program of its kind; providing an innovative solution for the collection, processing and reuse of pre-loved sporting footwear.

Our Victorian pilot program is already underway – with collection bins nearing deployment – in partnership with major brands including New Balance, Converse, Globe, rebel, adidas, ASICS, SportsPower, Myer and JD Sports.

This initial state implementation represents a profound opportunity for the research and development of foundational framework for sports shoe recycling, with the subsequent goal of serving the entire Australian footwear sector.

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Pilot Objectives

The SOSI partners, along with participating brands and retailers, have outlined a number of sustainability-focused outcomes for the Victorian pilot program;

1. Reduce the environmental impact of footwear sent to landfill each year

2. Develop a scalable model for sports shoe recycling programs Australia-wide

3. Promote participation in positive end-of-life programs across the supply chain

4. Reclaim at least 100 tonnes of pre-used sports shoe material for repurposing

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The Process

1. Consumers drop off pre-loved sports shoes at designated disposal bins at participating retail locations

2. Donated footwear waste is collected and transported to the recycling plant for sorting and processing

3. Reusable shoe components are extracted – including rubber, leather and fibres – at the recycling facility

4. Reclaimed materials are used to manufacture new products such as gym mats, floors and playgrounds

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Program Facilitators

ASGA | Australian Sporting Goods Association

As Recycling Program Lead, ASGA is responsible for overseeing the initiative and all financial, adminstrative and communicative functions.

ANZRP | Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform Ltd.

As Recycling Program Governance Lead, ANZRP provides project reporting, quality assurance, auditing and risk management services.

SOS | Save Our Soles

As Recycling Process Lead, Save Our Soles manage all resource reclaimation activities, from extraction to end product development.

Contributing Partners

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Victorian Collection Locations

Geelong, Highpoint, Werribee, Plenty Valley, Point Cook, Taylors Lakes, Waurn Ponds, Warrnambool, Albury, Northland, Forest Hill, Airport West, Craigieburn, Pharan, Knox, Centrepoint, Ballarat, Chadstone, Bendigo, Richmond, Chadstone, Melbourne City, Mildura, Ringwood, Southland, Fountain Gate, Narre Warren, Mornington, Mentone.

St Kilda, Torquay, South Wharf, Moorabbin Airport.

Emporium, Chadstone, Werribee, South Wharf, Smith St, Spencer St, Essendon, University Hill, Moorabbin.

Cheltenham Outlet, Uni Hill Outlet, South Wharf Outlet, Spencer Street Outlet, Collingwood Outlet,
Chadstone Lighthouse, Melbourne Central Lighthouse.

Melbourne Central, Highpoint, Doncaster, Northland, Chadstone, Frankston, Broadmeadows.

Essendon DFO Outlet, Uni Hill Outlet, DFO South Wharf

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For further information about the Save Our Soles Initiative or enquiries regarding support, contact ASGA on 1300 467 106 or leave a message below: