Personally, I am meticulous about recycling. I grew up in a household where we tried to waste as little as possible. My parents have always been very careful about reducing, reusing, and recycling, years before it became "trendy." Therefore, I recycle everything I can, including things that many might not bother with (e.g. the cardboard bases in toilet paper rolls, clothing tags, the plastic containers that hold contact lenses).
In all honesty, recycling is not that difficult. There are usually two or more bins right next to each other - one for trash, the other(s) for recyclables. It doesn't take that much effort to choose the right bin.
Now, if you'll allow me just a brief moment to climb aboard this lovely device (you've been warned)...
I get really irritated when I see people throwing recyclable items into the garbage when the recycling bin is right next to the garbage bin. This happens in my office all the time. I freely admit that I will move offending items from the garbage bin into the recycling bin. Someone should do it!
It seems that a lot of people don't realize that recyclable items are not limited to newspapers, aluminum cans, or plastic beverage bottles. The boxes that contain your packaged foods? Recyclable. The plastic tray that holds the contents of your frozen meals? Recyclable. The plastic bottles used for your body wash, hand/dish soap, or mouthwash? All recyclable. And these are just a few examples.
It's also frustrating to see how wasteful some people can be. For example, I'll see people grab a three-inch stack of napkins, use one, then throw the rest away unused. I've also seen people grab enormous styrofoam cups, fill the whole thing up to the top, take one quick sip, then immediately throw away both the cup and the entire remaining contents. A former work colleague once told me that when she got up in the morning, she would turn on the shower, but then go back to bed for a half hour with the shower still running in her absence.
To quote Keyshawn Johnson, "C'mon, man!" Surely with some awareness, people can make smarter decisions than those, right?
I could keep going but you get the idea.
[END RANT. STEPPING OFF MY SOAPBOX.]
Where I'm going with this from a runner's perspective is that I have a few pairs of old running shoes and sneakers lying around the house. I want to dispose of them in an environmentally conscious way.
The most obvious option would be to donate them to Goodwill or some other charitable organization. However, it seems that all of the charitable organizations are looking for "gently-used" shoes, even going so far as to say things like, "Please be respectful with your donations, understand that we like to provide good, clean shoes to those in need.” Unfortunately, the shoes I have in question are super beat up. They are not what I would consider reusable. Though not ideal, I guess I could still donate the shoes and let them make the call on whether or not they are salvageable in any way?
Alternatively, I have seen a few organizations located in various parts of the U.S. that ask you to ship your shoes to them to be truly recycled (as opposed to being repurposed). But there has to be a more efficient method than shipping my old shoes across the country.
Are there any other options?!? Beyond just throwing them away, how have you disposed of your "very-used" running shoes?