Sport Singapore partners with Dow to turn 300,000 used shoes into rubber granules for jogging tracks, playgrounds

The initiative aims to upcycle 300,000 pairs of shoes into new sports infrastructure such as jogging tracks. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced on Friday (Sept 25) it is partnering with material science company Dow to give old shoes a new life in a project called 'Others see an old shoe. We see the Future'.

Using a circular economy approach, the initiative aims to upcycle 300,000 pairs of shoes contributed by members of the public into new sports infrastructure such as jogging tracks, fitness areas and playgrounds over the next three years.

SportSG chief executive Lim Teck Yin said: "This project demonstrates how we can all play a meaningful part in workable real-world solutions that champion sustainability in our fields of endeavour.

"We hope that this collaboration will bring about ripple effects with more partners in promoting shared aspirations in sustainability through sport."

According to the National Environment Agency, only four per cent of the 161,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste that were disposed of in 2019 was recycled.

Jon Penrice, Dow president for Asia Pacific, said: "As we move away from a make-use-dispose society into one where circularity becomes ever more relevant today, collaborating with partners across the value chain such as Sport Singapore and the community is critical.

"We all have a role to play if we want a better outcome for the environment."

A team of research and development experts from Dow and Dow's business partner B.T. Sports perfected the process over six months.

As part of the process, rubberised soles and midsoles of the old sports shoes are ground into rubber granules that are then used as a material to build the sport infrastructure, partially replacing recycled tyres.

A water-based and solvent-free binder technology then binds the granules together.

The team carried out a pilot project to test the feasibility of using recycled sports shoes to partially replace recycled tyres for an initial 200 sq m area at the yet to be unveiled Kallang Football Hub.

The shoe collection drive will launch on Saturday (Sept 26), World Environmental Health Day, and end on Nov 30.

Members of the public can drop their used sports shoes, including school shoes and football boots without metal studs, at 30 collection points such as ActiveSG sport centres and stadiums, Decathlon and JD Sports stores.

School students and staff can also donate their old shoes at over 30 education institutions.

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