Australia, Circular Economy, News

ASGA gets government grant to help tackle shoe issue

The Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) Save Our Soles initiative – a program that recovers and recycles the tired, unwanted sports shoe – has received an Australian Government grant through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (NPSIF), bringing the sporting goods industry one step closer to a sustainable future.

The grant will help grow the industry-funded take-back shoe program, which was prompted by a successful launch in 2019 as a pilot program in Victoria. The initiative has already led to the collection of over 100,000 pairs of shoes for recycling – highlighting the need for a national program.

ASGA has collaborated with major sporting goods brands and renowned retailers which include Nike, adidas, Asics, Converse, Super Retail Group, Globe, JD Sports, New Balance, SportsPower, Frankie4, Brand Collective, Mizuno and Accent Group, to close the loop in the Australian footwear product life cycle chain.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the new schemes are a slam dunk for the Government, which will invest an additional $4 million in product stewardship funding.

“We think that our product stewardship programs are really ace, and that is why we have now funded 19 projects to the tune of $14.6 million and established the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence,” Ley said.

“This additional funding means we can create greater capacity in the recycling sector and with that, we will see more brands taking greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of their products.”

“This is a landmark day for the Australian Sporting Goods Industry and its stakeholders, as we are now collectively able to accelerate investment towards a more environmentally sustainable future, a critical area of ASGA’s strategic focus,” said ASGA’s President, Andrew Reed.

The investment made by the Federal Government’s grant is a great step forward that will enable significant growth in ASGA’s Save Our Soles footwear recycling program. This will have members in a stronger position nationally to achieve their sustainability objectives, while importantly meeting Australian consumer demands, by providing an easily accessible solution to recycling their pre loved sports shoes.”

ASGA executive director, Shaun Bajada, is thrilled to see the sporting goods and active lifestyle industry work together to tackle this immediate waste problem.

“Our industry is committed to building a long-term sustainable footwear recycling solution that will benefit our planet and the community. I am incredibly proud of our members who have helped ASGA create a truly circular footwear recycling platform,” said Bajada.

The program aims to reduce the volume of footwear sent to landfill each year by developing a scalable model for sports shoe recycling Australia-wide. This model involves repurposing pre-loved sports shoes and transforming them into gym mats, retail flooring, playground, and sporting exteriors.

Consumers can conveniently drop off preloved shoes such as athletic lifestyle shoes, sneakers, football boots, hiking boots, golf shoes, thongs, and slides to ASGA retail partners. For more information on the program and to find your nearest collection site click here.