Take your old sneakers to Nike for recycling? Not to Brexit in Great Britain… | Nike
Nike has suspended its popular recycling program in the UK in response to the higher costs associated with Brexit.
The Reuse-a-Shoe program allowed UK customers to drop off their old sneakers at a Nike store, where they would be shipped to one of Nike’s four distribution centers in Flanders, Belgium, to be recycled into rubber for a use in track surfaces, gym floors and new Nike footwear and apparel.
“Bring your old pair and join us on a journey to zero carbon, zero waste, future proof sport,” company marketing materials said.
However, Brexit and the subsequent introduction of EU export tariffs mean that the scheme is no longer economically viable. Higher freight and excise costs mean that the program costs Nike about a third more.
The company has yet to announce the permanent suspension of the program, but Reuse-a-Shoe was suspended in spring 2020, when Nike outlets in the UK were closed due to Covid-19. A landing page for the site remains accessible through the company’s UK website, although clicking to “learn more” about the program will take you to a page that simply reads: “The product you are looking for is no longer available. “.
Customers can always pick up a recycling bag from Nike stores, in which they can send their old shoes to one of the Belgian distribution centers. In addition to the packaging of items, individuals now have to cover shipping costs, previously paid for by Nike itself.
A Nike spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program is currently not available in the UK. Nike offers its recycling and donation program in 22 markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where consumers can positively impact our planet and their communities by dropping off lightly worn shoes and clothing. at participating local Nike stores for recycling or donation. “
Compared to other shoes, sneakers can be particularly difficult to recycle as they often contain a number of composite materials held together by glue that is difficult to recycle. It is estimated that the British send around 150 million pairs of shoes to landfill each year, with only around 15% of post-consumer shoe waste being recycled or redistributed.
Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents UK recyclers, said the industry was facing many Brexit-related issues, including a shortage of truck drivers and a one-third increase in export costs . He said: “Brexit has brought enormous challenges to our industry, including the mountain of costly red tape we now need to enable us to export recycled material to the continent for reprocessing.
“Brexit also meant that we had to change our trading terms with our European partners for VAT purposes. It turned out to be difficult, but it was very encouraging that most of our European outlets engaged with us to find a workable system. We now see it as the new normal.