Recycling is the way to go whenever you can, whether that means putting something to a new use or donating it to be used by someone new. It’s great for the planet, it can be a real boon for communities and it’s just the right thing to so whenever you can.
Can slippers be recycled? Yes, they can, and in a number of different ways. This is something that’s important for people to know, as According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, in the United States alone people throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. These shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose, and a lot of them are slippers.
Slippers can be harder to recycle than many types of outdoor shoe, as they are usually flimsier and wear out more easily. Even, however, if they are not suitable for donation to be used by someone else they can be put to other uses, as you will discover if you read on.
The problem with shoes and landfills
There is no doubt that the growing size of landfills across the world is a serious environmental problem, and that is certainly true in the US. In the United States alone there are, according to the EPA, 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills that are still filled with all kinds of waste, much of which may never degrade.
Landfills don’t just look unsightly and take up space and land that could be put to other uses. They can also be hazardous to human health and to the health of the planet in general. As most landfills are filled will all kinds of things as these various materials begin to degrade they often become toxic and those poisons seep into the ground, the water, and the soil.
All too often slippers fall into that category and there are certainly a lot of them among those 300 million pairs of shoes thrown away annually. Many of the materials they are crafted from are simply not biodegradable and even those that are may take thirty to forty years to do so.
Slippers are not always the easiest thing to resell, because they tend to wear out quickly. However, some of the more expensive brands, those that do last for years, may be able to recoup you some of your initial investment if they are in very, very good condition.
If you do decide to try and sell your slippers to recycle them, eBay is not your only option. In recent years the online consignment store, Poshmark, has become very popular with people who want to sell clothing of all kinds and it tends to be easier to sell there, as listings are simple to create and you are mailed a prepaid, pre-addressed label to send your items off if they sell.
Current popular slipper brands on Poshmark include Ugg, Dearfoams, Lands End Mukluk and Eddie Bauer, so if you have any of those that are in good saleable condition there’s a good chance you could make back 35-50% of what you originally paid for them and still feel good about yourself as you be recycling the slippers rather than clogging up a landfill with them.
Slippers can be tricky things to try and donate for use by others. This is because they are often much flimsier than other shoe types, and wear out and become dirty far more quickly. And no one wants to wear a pair of dirty second-hand slippers really do they?
However, some of the more expensive slippers wear fairly well, and if their owner has worn them with socks – as most health professionals recommend today in order to avoid developing fungal foot infections – they may still be perfectly wearable when their owner decides to trade them in for something new.
Where should you donate a good, wearable pair of slippers? Provided they are in good, clean condition with no holes most branches of the US’ biggest charitable thrift store concerns – The Salvation Army and Goodwill – will happily accept them to be sold on in their stores.
That can mean that your gently used slippers will be doing some real good. Not only will they be giving someone else the chance to make use of them but also helping to fund the many worthwhile charitable projects that both of these organizations – and many other smaller, private charity shops – operate. These include everything from food and shelter for the homeless to job training.
You may have also seen recycling bins that are specifically labeled for clothing and shoe donations outside local stores and restaurants. Your gently used slippers can be donated here too, just make sure that you tie them together with an elastic band or something similar so they will not get separated.
The slippers that are donated in this way are often sent out by various charities to third world countries all over the globe. According to estimates from WHO (World Health Organization) more than 300 million people across the world cannot afford shoes of any kind, let alone slippers, and so, once again, the slippers you no longer want can do some real good long after you have parted with them.
If you are a crafty person you may be able to make use of some of the elements of your old slippers if they are simply not in good enough condition to sell or donate. The fur and trim that is found on many slippers can be used in all kinds of ways, from embellishments for homemade gift cards to trim for DIY clothing and accessories.
Can you extend the life of slippers?
One of the best ways to reduce waste, in general, is to make use of less ‘stuff’ in the first place. So can you extend the life of your slippers so that they last longer and have to be replaced less frequently? The answer, again, is yes you certainly can. Here are just a few ways you can do so.
Buy a higher quality slipper in the first place
As we mentioned, many higher quality slippers are still suitable for reuse even after they have been worn for some time. This is because they are crafted from higher quality materials and are constructed in such a way that they are simply far more durable than their cheaper counterparts.
Some people, however, initially balk at the idea of paying $50-$100 for a pair of slippers when they could pay a $1 at their local dollar store, or maybe $10 at their local drug store. But that is often both a false economy and a potential waste that will only add to the landfill problem.
This is because those cheaper slippers will wear out far more quickly – most last just a few months – and they will rarely be in a fit condition to either sell or donate. Instead, they will be thrown away and their owner will have to go and buy more. If they stick to the same brand they may have to repeat that cycle three or four times over the course of the year, possibly spending the same amount of money as they would have done on a higher quality more durable pair anyway (and certainly adding to the waste problem)
Many people ditch their slippers when the insides and insoles get grimy. Which makes sense, dirty slippers are unpleasant to wear and can be bad for the health of your feet. By wearing socks with slippers you will obviously keep the insoles cleaner longer, extending the useful life of the slipper.
Socks and slippers are often considered to be a poor fashion choice. Not as much of a ‘crime’ as socks and sandals, but close in the eyes of many. But the socks you wear to keep your slippers cleaner do not have to be big and bulky, try a pair of skimpy no-show socks or foot covers instead. They will get the job done and you won’t have to feel like a ‘fashion failure’
Never wear slippers outside
Nothing ruins slippers faster than wearing them outside, even briefly. Even the highest quality slippers are not designed for even occasional outdoor wear. They have soft soles for a reason. Not only for your comfort but also to protect your floors and carpets. If you use them as outdoor shoes even briefly you will track in dust and dirt on the bottoms, which defeats the point of wearing slippers in the first place.
To avoid the temptation of just running out for a minute in your slippers to fetch the mail or start your car keep a pair of simple, inexpensive flip flops by the door. That way you can slip into these easily, head outside to do what you need to and then come back in and change into your still nice and clean slippers in a flash.