Cobblers add sole to recycling campaign

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The Independent Online
AFTER paper igloos and bottle banks, this week sees the launch of the shoe bank by the Mister Minit shoe repair chain, writes Danielle Nagler. Tall hexagonal bins will be put into more than 500 shops across the UK in the first national shoe recycling campaign.

Independent research suggests that 1.8 million pairs of shoes are thrown away in Britain every week, costing local authorities an estimated pounds 30 a tonne to dispose of. More than 274 million pairs of shoes are bought every year in Britain, but within three years most have been discarded because of changing fashions or repairable faults.

In a six-week trial scheme carried out in six shops, Mister Minit collected 8,000 pairs of shoes.

The company's own survey shows that 92 per cent of people would use shoe banks regularly; 77 per cent of those questioned currently threw unwanted shoes into the dustbin.

Profits from the campaign will go to the Red Cross, but 32 per cent of people surveyed said their main motive for depositing shoes would be to reduce waste. Unlike paper and bottles, ready markets exist to resell the shoes in Eastern Europe and the developing world.