Member Submission

Recycling Shoes

By: William "Bill" and Sarah Young

Omer and Bob's sports store in Lebanon has a box in their entryway where you can donate athletic shoes that still have some life in them. Jim Burnett introduced the UVRC and the Upper Valley to this program years ago.

According to Jim Riordan, founder of the More Foundation Group, the USA has 5% of the world’s population and 70% of the shoes.

The More Foundation Group gathers the shoes and sells them for $4 a pair to brokers in Asia, Israel, Pakistan and South America. These sales fully fund their foundation which uses these funds in Ghana, West Africa to plant fruit trees and trees that can be harvested for their wood. Each pair of shoes provides funding for 5 trees which provide food, income and carbon sequestration.

Before COVID, shoe sales by the Foundation provided enough funds to plant 200,000 trees a year. This dropped to 50,000 trees when all the gyms were closed. But in 2022 they are on target to reach 600,000 trees. The More Foundation Group has adopted 60 schools in Ghana and established nurseries in their schoolyards. Each school has about 500 students, and they learn how to germinate and care for the seedlings which produce both food and income. When the saplings are mature enough, each student takes 10 trees home to plant. The More Foundation also sponsors agroforestry training at these schools. The Foundation hopes to repeat this project annually to reforest Ghana.

Three other Upper Valley drop off locations for athletic shoes are Anytime Fitness in West Lebanon, CCBA Witherell Recreation Ctr. in Lebanon and UVRC at 484 Canaan St., Canaan, NH.

Sarah Young
Sustainable Hanover and UVRC

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