Posts tagged "shoes"

How can I reuse or recycle (or pass on) slippers?

Rachael left a note on the suggestions page, asking:

hi, how can recycle some slippers? do shoe banks take them? thanks

Yes, they can be put into shoe banks – but make sure they’re tied together in some way (if they’ve not got laces, tie them together with string or an elastic band). Stuff put in charity shoe banks is usually distributed in three ways depending on quality/condition: for resale at a charity shop in this country, for resale overseas or for actual recycling down to being shredded for raw materials — so one way or another, they’ll get reused.

If they’re old and in poor condition, you might be able to revamp them yourself to get a bit longer out of them – I tend to wear slipper socks than actual slippers but I’ve upcycled the “leather” soles of one pair by crocheting new “uppers” using the relevant part of patterns widely available on the internet. Sole aside, a lot of towelling-type slippers will be 100% (or thereabouts) cotton so might be dye-able, which might breathe new life into a discoloured/grubby pale coloured pair.

Any other ideas for revamping or recycling an old pair of slippers? Or other suggestions on places to pass them onto? (eg would shelters take them?)

How can I reuse or recycle Birkenstock sandals?

orangeterra left a comment on the “Suggest An Item” page:

What can I do with my old Birkenstock sandals? They’re a combo of rubbery foam soles, cork footbed, and leather straps. Because they take the shape of my feet, I doubt they’d be good hand-me-downs, but I hate to toss them.

Birkenstock has a page about their green production/distribution policies and advice on repairing/maintenance suggestions to prolong the life of the sandals. Birkenstock USA also links to shoe redistribution charity Soles4Souls.

Depending on which bit of orangeterra’s sandals has give way, they might benefit from a little repair – get a few more months out of them with new soles – or if the sole is good but the rest ruined/broken, they might be suitable for turning into slippers.

Any other suggestions? Or recycling links?

How can I reuse or recycle safety boots?

We’ve had an email from Gordon:

I am looking for a company that recycles or reuses used safety boots and shoes. They are predominantly leather with a steel toe cap and rubber or manmade sole. As a [huge multinational] company you can imagine we have quite a few and at present they go to landfill.

Do you know of any businesses that would be interested?

I suspect like happens with hard hats, they’re having to be replaced for health & safety reasons – they’ve become too worn/damaged to wear in a dangerous industrial environment.

If these boots have been retired for safety reasons, further reuse by someone else is largely out of the question – they might be fine for someone to use for light DIY or gardening etc but I wonder if there would be a liability issue if a company was to pass them on for that sort of thing…

It’s pretty easy to find a textile recycling/reclamation company but harder to find down ones that explicitly ask for leather, let alone safety footwear. Anyone know any companies that specifically deal with these types of boots or leather in general?

Any other suggestions?

How can I repair a pair of leaky trainers/sneakers?

leaky-trainersSo first up on our new “How can I repair this?” feature, how can I repair a pair of leaking trainers/sneakers?

I’ve got a pair of canvas trainers that I love – they’re like the ubiquitous Converse ones but No Sweat ones so sweatshop-free. I’ve worn the hell out of them for about five years and now they’ve both developed leaks in the sole – little tiny cracks/tears around the ball but on one of them the upper has come away from the lower slightly at the back too. I’d rather they didn’t become just fair weather footwear – so how can I fix them?

If they were hard soled shoes, I’d take them to a cobbler to be resoled but am not sure if they’d fix soft rubber soled trainers.

What about at-home fixes? I remember reading somewhere that someone suggested using silicone sealant to fix a similar sneaker leak – anyone tried that? Any better alternatives?

How can I reuse or recycle flip-flops?

flip-flopsWe’ve had an email from Hannah:

What can I do with old flip flops?

I’m presuming Hannah means the cheap foam ones that are omnipresent in the summer but sadly disappear into the dark, dusty backs of cupboards as soon as autumn arrives, never to re-emerge.

Because, toe-thong aside, they’re pretty much just foam shapes, a lot of the suggestions for foam drink holders and foam swim float will apply here too such as floor protectors under furniture legs, cut up/carved for foam stamps, or used as knitwear blocking boards or boards for macrame. If they’re not too, um, footy, they could maybe also be used as a fun noticeboard – a few pairs walking along the wall would be super-fun :)

Any other suggestions?