The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program turns 26 this year. In 1993, Nike employee Steve Potter had the idea of shredding old Nikes and upcycling them into a reusable material. This vision grew into the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program, with old footwear collected from consumers and transformed into ‘Nike Grind’, high-performance materials with a variety of repurposed use cases.
Nike Grind Upcycling
Since launching in 1993, Nike Reuse-A-Shoe has repurposed over 32 million pairs of shoes, plus a further 54 million kilograms of manufacturing scrap. All this material has been repurposed into Nike Grind, with the upcycled material being used for various purposes within the Nike business:
- Sports Fields and Running Tracks- Nike partnered closely with FieldTurf in the 1990s to create a variety of sports fields from Nike Grind. This program has continued with over 10,000 sports pitches all over the world made from these repurposed sneakers.
- Nike Retail Stores- Nike Grind has been used extensively as a building material and features for Nike stores globally, incorporated into everything from mannequins and modular display blocks, to wall and shelving displays, to flooring and seating.
- Nike Fleece Sweatshirts- Half a million kilograms of Nike Grind has been upcycled into fleece apparel
- Nike and Converse Footwear- Last year, 1.4 million kilograms of Nike Grind was repurposed in the footwear manufacturing process.
- Nike Trims & Zips- In 2017, Nike Grind was upcycled in over 500 apparel trim items, including zipper pulls, cord lock, buttons, grommets, and more.
Images Source: https://purpose.nike.com/nike-grind
Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Digital Era
Traditionally, the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe service was only available at one of the 292 Nike stores in the US and Europe. Large bins were made available in the store for consumers to deposit their used sneakers when they visited a store. Sneakers from any brand could be donated to the scheme.
Nike is now expanding the Reuse-A-Shoe campaign, with Nike France making the service available online. Nike members in France can order a custom satchel to be sent to them, with each satchel able to hold two pairs of shoes, making it easy to send their old sneakers to the Reuse-A-Shoe program.
The Reuse-A-Shoe satchel is made from an eco-friendly thermoplastic resin obtained from sugar cane. Nike sources this raw ingredient from producers where the sugar cane is planted and cultivated according to ethically responsible rules. For each kilogram of “green” plastic produced by this method, 2.85 kg of CO2 is saved compared to traditional petroleum-based polyethylene.
There is no official word on when this service will be available outside of France, however, with such a heritage to the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe campaign, it feels like it will only be a matter of time before this upcycling scheme becomes available globally.
For more info on the pilot scheme in France- click here
For more details on the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe campaign and Nike Grind, visit purpose.nike.com
Further Reading: Nike Sustainability “Move to Zero” Strategy released. Read More