Residents of Lake Edge in Puchong, Selangor, are taking their recycling to the next level with the “Old Soles, New Life” programme.
The initiative processes the rubber parts of old footwear into granules used to create safe playground surfaces, running tracks and floor padding.
The programme is a collaboration between sustainability organisation EcoKnights, materials science company Dow Chemical and textile recycling company Life Line Clothing Malaysia (LLCM).
Lake Edge Residents Association chairman Mariam Osman said at the launch, a single wheelie bin was quickly filled up with old shoes.
“There is good awareness among residents on green efforts as we also have a twice-monthly collection of recyclable materials and garden waste,” she added.
EcoKnights founder and president Dr Yasmin Rasyid shared that less than a month after kicking off the programme on July 20, they had reached their collection target of 4,000 pairs of shoes to rebuild the playground of SK Bukit Tadom (A), an Orang Asli school in Banting, Selangor, which had been damaged by the December 2021 floods.
“We hope to replicate this effort for the playgrounds at PPR flats, Kemas preschools and community spaces in need,” she said.
Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han and Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng were present at the launch along with Dow Chemical Singapore and Malaysia country director Paul Fong and LLCM chief executive officer Dale Warren.
“The Selangor government welcomes initiatives like this because we need to reduce the waste sent to landfills,” said Sze Han, who is also Selangor local government, public transportation and new village development committee chairman.
Michelle said collection bins for the programme were also available at Sunway University, Monash University, Taylor’s University and Inti International College in Subang Jaya.
Meanwhile, Fong said footwear suitable to be turned into sports surface materials included sports shoes, school shoes, slippers and sandals.
Dow Chemical will be sponsoring 75 bins which will be deployed in stages in the Klang Valley and Johor, including at the local councils of Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Pasir Gudang, Iskandar Puteri and Johor Baru.
For details and list of collection points, visit ecoknights.org.my/oldsolesnewlife/