Shoes Put in Garbage See Alternatives Light Up Shoes Contain Mercury! Shoes with lights in them contain mercury so they must be disposed of with other hazardous waste. Find out how to dispose of light up shoes. Alternative Ways to Recycle Soles4Souls Donate your shoes to anti-poverty non-profit Soles4Souls and they will distribute them to people in need either via direct donation or by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Find out more. Nike Reuse-A-Shoe If you have athletic shoes that have reached the end of their life, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program will shred them and turn them into sport surfaces. Most Nike and Converse stores accept shoe donations. Find a location or mail shoes directly. Ways to Reuse Donate If your shoes still have life in them, consider donating them to a thrift store — shoes are often on the most-needed list. Upcycle Check out Pinterest for ideas on how to upcycle your old shoes, including creating gardening containers from your old Crocs. Did You Know? How Shoes Can Change Lives Landfills Full of Shoes Americans throw away 300 million shoes annually, about one pair per person. Many shoes are filled with chemical compounds that can last for as long as 1,000 years in a landfill.