Drop your used sports shoes for recycling at 100 sites

From July 5, people can donate their sports shoes for recycling at 100 collection points islandwide, including participating ActiveSG sport centres and stadiums, Decathlon stores, schools and tertiary institutions.

The permanent initiative by Sport Singapore (SportSG) and material science company Dow aims to recycle 170,000 pairs of shoes annually and these will be used as infrastructure materials for sports facilities such as jogging tracks, playgrounds and fitness corners.

This comes after a similar project last year by the two bodies which saw more than 75,000 pairs collected between September and November. That would equate to approximately 3.3km of jogging track that can be built.

At the virtual memorandum of understanding signing yesterday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said: "We are adopting a circular economy approach towards the management of waste in Singapore. We see waste not as something to be thrown away, but as a precious resource to be harvested."

Sports shoes, school shoes, football boots without metal studs, and rubberised slippers and sandals without metal parts are all eligible for donation.

According to a report by market research company Statista, an estimated 22 million pairs of shoes are sold in Singapore yearly.

The National Environment Agency said previously that 137,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste were generated in Singapore last year, of which only four per cent was recycled.

National agency SportSG said the shoe recycling project will help reduce the load on and extend the lifespan of the country's only landfill on offshore Semakau Island. It is expected to be fully filled by 2035.

SportSG's chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said last year's project was encouraging and "demonstrates that Singaporeans are willing to join up if they can appreciate the meaningfulness of their participation".

He added: "Over time, efforts like these will bring about fundamental behavioural shifts in the sport ecosystem that will help champion a greener and more sustainable Singapore."

A team of research and development experts from Dow and Dow's business partner B.T. Sports perfected the process over six months last year. The rubberised soles and midsoles will be ground into granules which will then be bound together by a water-based and solvent-free binder technology.

  • 170k

    Pairs of used sports shoes the recycling initiative hopes to collect annually.

Jon Penrice, Dow's president for Asia Pacific, said: "We are delighted to see this project have a real impact here in Singapore and see the potential for it to scale significantly in the future."

Visit circle.myactivesg.com/old-shoe-new-future for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2021, with the headline 'Drop your used sports shoes for recycling at 100 sites'. Subscribe