Unwanted shoes wanted at CPIT

News News & events

20 May 2014

Two CPIT students are on a mission to help un-recycled shoes from adding to landfills, releasing nasty chemicals and poisoning wildlife.

Outdoor education and sustainability students Kathryn Bunckenberg, 21, and Simone Curd, 20, are doing their bit for the environment by recycling unwanted shoes into reusable materials.

As part of their CPIT studies, the students were told to design an action project to solve a social or environmental problem. Bunckenberg and Curd decided to concentrate on the problem of un-recycled sports shoes.

“It takes 1000 years for sneakers to break down in landfill. Shoes are taking up too much room in our landfills and releasing the chemicals into rivers and poisoning our wild life while they break down,” Bunckenberg says.

“Being a runner, I go through many pairs of running shoes and I see how much of a waste it is if they’re just thrown away.”

The pair began an action project to collect unwanted shoes and recycle them.

“We can find new homes for your unwanted shoes or recycle your retired sneakers. It doesn’t matter what condition they are in; we will take them,” Bunckenberg says.

Rebel Sports Riccarton has volunteered to send the shoes to America, where they will be handled by Nike Grind.

Nike take the shoes, grinds them into raw material and pass the material through a series of complex separators. The material is used in sports courts, gym flooring tiles and playground surfacing.

It takes 2500 pairs of shoes to make an outdoor basketball court, 50,000 to make a sportsfield and 75,000 to make a running track.

Additionally, Nike utilizes the Nike Grind material in various products such as footwear and apparel.

To help Bunckenberg and Curd bring your unwanted shoes to CPIT’s recreation centre from May 12 – 23.