A survey from national recycling initiative TreadLightly has found the average Australian owns about five pairs of shoes they don’t wear.
Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the more than 1000 people surveyed keep the shoes for a “rainy day or for sentimental reasons”, while more than half (51 per cent) throw them in the rubbish.
Women are more likely to keep shoes they don’t wear, holding onto an average of seven pairs of shoes compared to men, who keep three.
Shoe components can take more than 1000 years to break down in landfill but they can be recycled into mats and flooring for use in retail stores, gyms and playgrounds.
TreadLightly, operated by the Australian Sporting Goods Association with support from the federal government, is calling on Australians to help reach its goal of recycling more than one million pairs of shoes by 2023.
Instead of throwing unused shoes in the bin, the group wants people to drop them off at participating retailers for them to be recycled responsibly.
“All you need to do is look around your home for any unwanted sports or active lifestyle shoes – from sneakers and trainers to golf shoes – and take them into one of our 400-plus participating retailers to be recycled when your state opens up,” Shaun Bajada from the Australian Sporting Goods Association said in a statement.