FANCY a playground where the surface is covered with rubber repurposed from used shoes?
This not only provides a smooth and safe play area, but is also an environmentally friendly move.
Non-governmental organisation EcoKnights together with materials science company Dow Malaysia (Dow) and textile recycling company Life Line Clothing Malaysia (LLCM) are going one step further.
They have started a programme called “Old Soles, New Life” where used shoes are being repurposed to upgrade a playground for SK Bukit Tadom in Banting, Selangor.
The two-month programme, launched on July 20, is the first shoe waste recycling initiative in Malaysia and SK Bukit Tadom has been selected to benefit from the first phase.
EcoKnights founder and president Yasmin Rasyid said the goal was to see a significant behavioural shift among Malaysians in terms of material consumption, treated and discarded waste as well as repurposed materials.
Under the programme, LLCM has placed 17 bins throughout Klang Valley and Johor for the collection of old shoes.
EcoKnights programme director Fadly Bakhtiar said the number of bins would be increased later.
“We hope that the public will donate their old shoes and from that point, we can create an ecosystem by recycling shoe waste,” he said.
Around 4,000 shoes are needed for a 135sq m space of the SK Bukit Tadom playground, he added.
The old shoes, he explained, would be taken to a grinding facility in Singapore and turned into granules, after which Dow would provide a binding solution to produce the rubber surface.
Fadly said the grinding facility was currently only in Singapore.
“We hope to raise funds to have a similar facility in Malaysia as it is becoming expensive to have it done in Singapore due to transportation costs, among other things.”
Fadly added that they were currently in talks with local councils and property developers to provide the service of constructing sports and playground surfaces using repurposed shoes.
For details on the collection points, go to https://ecoknights.org.my/oldsolesnewlife/