Turn old shoes into gift cards, discounts

June 7, 2012 8:49:27 PM PDT
In the Fairless Hills warehouse of Shoebox Recycling, you'll find hundreds of boxes of shoes.

A few weeks ago, they were in someone's closet gathering dust. But soon, they'll be earning cash for organizations or discounts for their former owners.

Ira Baseman, founder of Shoebox Recycling, explains, "We take shoes from around the country and allow those to be shipped overseas to a variety of end users, mostly for re-use. So almost all the shoes that we get are destined to be re-worn, by somebody else around the world."

Some of the shoes were collected by schools and other organizations, and they'll be paid $.50 a pound -- about $15-$20 a box -- for them.

But individuals can also turn old shoes into great deals, thanks to Shoebox's new partnership with Recyclebank -- an online community that rewards people for going green.

Denise Diorio McVeigh of Recyclebank explains, "By taking those green actions, like recycling your shoes, you get points. Those points can then be redeemed for deals and discounts at hundreds of local and national retailers."

The shoes go to people who can use them in developing countries. And Shoebox encourages donors to put notes in their shoes and learn more about who ends up with them.

Baseman says, "You can put a note in your shoe, put it in the box, ship it to us, we'll allow you to track it. And if somebody, somewhere else finds your shoe with your note, they contact us through our website and you can find your "sole"mate."

There's no guarantee you'll get a reply, but you can definitely rack up those Recyclebank points and

redeem them for discounts at restaurants or supermarkets or for specific products.

To learn more about Shoebox Recycling, click here.

To learn more about Recyclebank, click here. In addition, you can turn your old shoes in at any one of 16 Famous Footwear stores in the Philadelphia. In return, you'll get a coupon for $10 off purchase of $50 or more.