What are you supposed to do with all your old shoes that are too small or too worn out to even donate? Nike’s reuse a shoe program will take them off your feet for you and turn them into new sport surfaces for other athletes to tread on, closing the product’s life cycle. What is really great about this program is that the recycling process utilizes all portions of acceptable shoes (and Livestrong bracelets) for different purposes: rubber for new track surfaces, fabric for padding underneath basketball courts, and foam for tennis court underlayment (and a host of other uses as well). It’s all part of Nike’s Better World campaign which spotlights Nike’s robust list of low impact products (and cheeky eco-friendly slogans) for athletes worldwide. In fact, Nike scored number 3 of all companies surveyed in the Climate Counts corporate environmental responsibility rank organized by Clean Air-Cool Planet.
As a global leader in sports equipment manufacturing, I applaud Nike’s efforts in recycling, responsible manufacturing and promoting environmental awareness. I hope that this kind of stewardship spreads throughout all sports businesses and organizations in order to keep this planet prime for all future athletes, or as Nike puts it, kick ass without kicking the planet’s ass.
As a sport that depends on clean oceans for its survival, surfing seems like the perfect candidate for a green sport. I was really blown
away to hear about such a successful trash to treasure system come about. Waste to waves is a Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) recycling program through Sustainable Surf where anyone in possession of Styrofoam can simply drop it off at collection centers, usually found in coastal surfing cities. The material is then processed and used to generate new surfboards, finally putting all that Styrofoam packaging to good use! I am so thrilled to hear that a material which is so difficult for resource recovery centers to manage is now being used like this and now I can’t wait to pick up my first recycled foam board. Any sport born from the waves is bound to clean up its act and this certainly won’t be the last post you will get about surfing.
How much would you recycle if your reputation depended on it? What about if your school’s reputation depended on it? This is just the spirit the organizers of Recyclemania tap into with their annual recycling competition. Beginning in 2001, with a recycling challenge between Ohio University and Miami University, Recyclemania has grown to include over 600 schools! For a period of 8 weeks, colleges in the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling collected on a weekly basis and are then ranked in various categories such as best recycling rate per capita and who generates the least amount of recycling and trash combined. Then, as the results start coming in, each school (especially diehard rivals) has a more relatable incentive to motivate their student body to recycle to the max and beat opposing teams’ scores! Congratulations to American University, 2012’s overall grand champion with an impressive landfill diversion rate of 85.16% throughout the span of the competition.
The recyclemaniacs claim the competition is responsible for a large spike in overall recycling rate of the participating schools and that it clearly boots the visibility of recycling efforts during the span of the contest. 8 weeks is plenty of time to start new habits and I’m sure after the winners have been revealed most new recyclers continue the good work! My favorite thing about this event is that it uses a common personal green activity, recycling, and effectively turns it into a team sport with astounding results, especially at schools with big sports programs.
I grew up recycling but I recognize that many of us did not; Recyclemania makes me hopeful that any college student with a competitive spirit will be inspired to participate in such a worthy cause. It even seems this competition format would work at any school level and possibly even between rival corporations (imagine battle of the silicon valley giants: Facebook vs. Google vs. Apple vs. HP). Wouldn’t that be something?