How to Properly Throw Away Shoes

With fast fashion on the up and a lack of trust with charity clothes bags, what’s the best method of disposing of your old shoes?

Have you got a pair of tatty old shoes collecting dust? You know, the ones that make the whole house look untidy.

If you do, how would you go about disposing of them?

Would you put them into charity donation bags alongside a mound of tired and unused clothes? Or would you simply shout “cheerio, good sir” and throw them into your kitchen bin?

It seems knowing how to properly throw away shoes is a real issue in the UK at the moment. With this in mind, we wanted to shed some light on the issue and give you some practical solutions which benefit your pocket and the environment.

What happens when you throw away shoes?

What happens to shoes when you throw them away

According to research on clothing wastage, approximately 350 thousand tonnes of clothing ends up in UK landfill every year, with 2 million pairs of shoes contributing to it.

To make matters worse, spending on clothing has increased year on year. This process of buying a pair of shoes or item of clothing and disposing of it a few months or years down the line is causing a fast fashion epidemic in the UK.

Throwing away shoes and clothes isn’t just a waste of money, it’s a waste of resources used to produce them in the first place and destroy them afterwards.

When a pair of shoes or clothes are made, a lot of materials, energy and water is required to produce and transport them. In fact, the carbon emissions generated by clothing in the average household is the equivalent to driving a car 6,000 miles.

And when you throw shoes and clothes away in the bin, they end up in landfill, where they contribute to further climate change and create methane – a damaging greenhouse gas and a liquid called leachate. Which in turn, can lead to groundwater contamination, if uncontrolled.

The other easy alternative to dispose of old shoes and clothes is to use charity clothing bags that come through your letterbox. However, if you’re like one of the many UK citizens who distrust donation bags, it might be time to weigh up some other options.

Repair over bin

Before you throw away a pair of shoes, you should always consider fixing them.

When you choose one of the best cobblers for shoe repair in the UK, the possibilities are endless. They can help with:

  • Riding and hunting boot repairs
  • Zip replacements
  • Leather shoe repairs
  • Sole and heel replacements
  • Stitching and patchwork
  • Calf adjustment to boots

Choosing to repair your shoes over disposing of them can save you a lot of money in the long-run too. For instance, if you buy a pair of cheap shoes costing around £40, every year for the rest of your life, you’ll spend thousands. Whereas, investing in a quality pair of shoes, like our Percy Strides, and repairing them every 5-10 years for £10-40 will work out considerably cheaper.

Using the services of a cobbler is made easy these days too, with many of them offering postal options. So, you can sit back and relax, knowing your favourite shoes will be returned to you looking as good as new within a couple of days.

Turn to Shoe Aid

Shoe Aid

If your shoes are beyond salvaging by a cobbler, you should donate them to Shoe Aid. They work with some of the largest organisations in the UK to reduce shoe poverty while minimising footwear waste and its impact on the environment.

According to their research, there are around 1.5 billion people worldwide without shoes, of which, 300 million are children. What’s more, 70 million children are also unable to access suitable education because shoes are required as part of the school uniform.

And we’re not just talking about countries thousands of miles away. In the UK, around 4 million children are wearing the wrong sized shoes and at least 200,000 homeless people have no footwear or only have ones that are falling apart.

The good news is that when you donate your pair of old shoes to Shoe Aid, they’re given to these people affected.

So, before hurling your old unrepairable shoes into the bin, think about the environment and the people around the world you can help.

To find out more about how you can donate to Shoe Aid, visit their website here.

Thank you!