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Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Our Recycling + Donation service started with a simple goal: Make it easier for athletes to reduce waste by getting rid of used athletic shoes and apparel with us. But the question remains, what happens after you drop off your gear?

It’s a complex process that we’re hoping to simplify for you here and explain how we’re helping you actually reduce waste along the way.

The Drop Off

When you bring eligible athletic gear to a participating Nike store, we’ll recycle and donate it for you. Whether you’re making room in your closet or getting rid of clothes you’ll no longer wear, leaving it with us is an easy way to make sure what’s been worn goes unwasted.

Read up on what we can and can’t accept here.

Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Getting It Sorted

Product to be donated gets sent to a Nike partner distributing product donations to organizations that help people facing disasters and other challenging circumstances.

They also make sure what you’ve brought in is eligible for recycling and donation, a process determined by factors like wear and tear, product age, and product type.

Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Turning Donations Into Opportunity

New product gets sent to communities in need through relief programs with partners both in and out of the U.S. Used product becomes something else.
Through a micro-enterprise program, Soles4Souls helps people around the world start small businesses of their own. Donations help them keep a steady supply of product, making sure they’re sustained for the long term. Most importantly, it helps them afford necessities like food, shelter, and education for their families.

Nike works with a partner to distribute product donations to organizations that help people facing disasters and other challenging circumstances.

Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Recycling Reinvented

For apparel deemed eligible for recycling, we work with partners to ensure that every stitch on every piece of clothing is recycled in the right way.

We choose partners based on the transparency into their process, and their ability to help ensure we achieve sustainability goals of our own.

How We Use Recycled Apparel


Wolkat takes 100% Polyester materials are recycled, and eventually used in Nike footwear, Nike gift bags, and office space applications like curtains and upholstery or acoustic panels.


Kyadrat recycles 100% Cotton is used to make table tops for offices and retail.

Blended Apparel

For product made of mixed materials, we’re searching for the best solution to recycle it sustainably.

Recycling + Donation: Where Does It All Go?

Changing The Game From The Ground Up

Footwear gets turned into Nike Grind, which in its most simple form is the scrap that comes from manufacturing waste, unused materials, and end-of-life product. After grinding it up, we collect, separate, and reuse it, or process it into new materials.

We’ve been incorporating Nike Grind into products, retail spaces, workplace environments, athletic facilities, skateboards, space shuttles, and more for nearly 30 years. That means fewer materials in landfills, and more in the hands (and under the feet of) athletes.

How We Use Recycled Footwear


Nike Grind, playgrounds, basketball courts, and indoor flooring, as well as TPU used in Nike offices, Nike retail spaces, and 3D printing comes from recycled rubber.


While we await a structural solution, recycled foam is currently being shipped on an ad-hoc basis to companies for various surface designs.


As we hunt for true, sustainable recycling solutions for fluff, it’s currently burned for energy recovery.

Less Waste, More Circular Design

Creating a new product means carefully considering how it’s made, what it’s made with, and how it can be remade in the future. Recycling + Donation is just one of ways we’re partnering with athletes to make sure we’re living up to our sustainability goals.

Explore our Circular Design Guide to see where waste reduction fits in, and visit a participating Nike store to see Move to Zero in action, Nike’s journey toward a zero carbon and zero waste future.