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. In all, 85% of post-consumer shoe waste was disposed of in landfills. This is an unacceptable environmental impact, especially when non-recyclable footwear can be a vital economic lifeline to financially-devastated countries.
Gently worn shoes are used in developing nations for impoverished people to start, maintain and grow an enterprise to feed, clothe and house their families. The 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 by discarded footwear which might otherwise by unrecycable. The shoes that we longer use are creating sustainable economic means in countries where little hope of such conditions are offered. 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 utility function of a purse is of primary concern and thus the no-longer-hip US handbag becomes a sought-after commodity. As demonstrated once more, our discarded products become items for resale and creating jobs. Although fashion critics may discredit last season’s purse, the life-changing impact it has is still 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.”