One in two Aussie parents throw out their children’s old shoes instead of recycling them

Karen Pham

Karen Pham


According to research by TreadLightly, 53 per cent of Australian parents discard their children’s old shoes in bins, while only one in 10 of them have recycled shoes. They also donate shoes to charity (52 per cent).

The high demand for new shoes during the back-to-school season triggers an increase in the number of unworn and old footwear ready for disposal. Yet, although 73 per cent of Aussie parents would like to reduce their environmental footprint, they still end up contributing shoes to landfill instead of recycling them. 

There are five reasons for this: they are not aware that shoes can be recycled (53 per cent), they don’t know where to recycle them (44 per cent), or they forget (5 per cent). Another 7 per cent simply are not interested, and 4 per cent say they lack the time.

The research also revealed:

  • Each year, 45 per cent of parents have at least two pairs of worn-out shoes they need to throw out.
  • Each child owns around two pairs of shoes that haven’t been worn in six months or more. 
  • Families with children under 18 spend nearly $500 on children’s shoes. This includes school shoes ($157), everyday shoes ($184), and specialty shoes needed for pursuits like ballet, football, netball, etc ($116).  

The survey was conducted with dependent children aged up to 17 via an online panel of Australian consumers. 

TreadLightly, a national recycling initiative, is supported by the Federal Government and aims to recycle more than 1 million pairs of shoes by June this year. 

Aussies can participate in TreadLightly’s program to give a new life to their preloved footwear.

Karen Pham

Karen Pham

Karen Pham is a marketing and branding enthusiast with a major in legal English. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, she is a contributor to Viable.Earth.


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