Finding a New Use for an Old Shoe

LEHMAN TOWNSHIP — Old or new, dirty or blue. Sneakers filled the gym at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus, where the Mountain Lion Varsity Club hosted the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe recycling program.

The club collected people’s old sneakers to send to Nike and recycle them.

“They actually break them down into 3 different parts. This part. The inside part that you don’t see and then this top part and what they do is they grind them up and they mix it with a formula they have,” said Mountain Lion Varsity Club president Alex Leandri.

Once mashed up, the soles, mesh, and inside foam of the sneakers are used for athletic tracks, basketball courts, and tennis courts.

Denise Yatko has been donating to the Reuse-a-Shoe program through the Nike web site for the last 10 years. She donated 30 pairs of sneakers here alone.

“I hate to see anything go into a landfill. My philosophy is second use and everything that we handle could probably have a second use. Whether it be a water bottle or a sneaker,” said Denise Yatko, of Hanover Township.

Other clubs on campus have done the Reuse-a-Shoe program in the past but for the first time, the Mountain Lion Varsity Club is combining old with new, doing the recycling program and holding a fundraiser for the club at the same time.

The club found another company to come in and sell new sneakers of all brands at a discounted price. Ten percent of the sales go to the varsity club.

“Especially the buy one, get one free helps out a lot and these shoes are less than what I buy at the mall so that’s good,” said sophomore Mark Bugelholl.

“It’s a great day. We’re helping the community but we’re also helping ourselves,” said Leandri.