In a United Kingdom case study completed by the Department of Trade and Industry, it was found that 10% of collected secondhand shoes were not suitable for reuse and ended up in landfills. However, over 85% of post-consumer shoe waste was disposed of in landfills, not recycled. This is an unacceptable environmental impact, especially since even non-recyclable footwear can be a vital economic lifeline to individuals and families in financially-devastated countries.
Gently worn shoes are used in developing nations for impoverished people to start, maintain, and grow a Micro-enterprise. Because of this opportunity, individuals are able to feed, clothe, and house their families. Collected shoes are consolidated and shipped to on-the-ground business operators where they clean, repair, or melt down outsoles if necessary, to make a new pair of shoes.
It is nothing short of amazing to watch the Micro-enterprise philosophy at work, driven simply by our discarded footwear. The shoes that we longer want or wear are creating sustainable economic means in countries where there is little hope economic stability. Recipients of these shoes are eternally appreciative and become incredibly resourceful with the products they receive. Your gently worn shoes still have life-changing impact left in them.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” ― Mark Twain
“Offering a hand UP is better than offering a hand out.” ― Wayne Elsey, author of “Almost Isn’t Good Enough“
For people in developing nations, the overall utility of a purse is an individual’s primary concern, not the designer label or coloring. Thus your outdated US handbag becomes a sought-after commodity to hundreds of individuals. As demonstrated once more, our discarded products become items for resale and creating jobs. Although fashion critics may discredit last season’s design, the life-changing possibilities it has are as relevant as ever.
“Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”