Can Pointe Shoes Be Recycled?
Pointe Shoes are essential to the beautiful art of ballerina dancing. They allow the dancer to stand on the tips of their toes. However, they do not last long. For professionals, they only last for 8 hours. An active ballerina will be discarding plenty of shoes. Can Pointe Shoes be recycled?
The short answer is yes, but not in a recycling bin. There are multiple programs that offer recycling programs for pointe shoes. However, they can’t simply be tossed in your houses’ recycle bin. They’re not like glass bottles or aluminum cans in this regard.
The Material of Pointe Shoes
As previously mentioned, pointe shoes wear out quickly. They’re made of organic things like satin, leather, cotton, cardboard. These materials are not known to be particularly sturdy. The NYC ballet alone goes through 7000 pairs a year. Pointe shoes are typically all handmade. Due to a lack of the use of machinery, they’re inconsistently made. There is a lot of waste because often they can’t be reused. The structure of the shoe breaks down quickly and they must be thrown away.
Some professional ballerinas use 100 pointe shoes in a single season. The rate depends on an individual dancer and how often they perform. Some prefer to use a new pair of shoes for each performance. Most dancers do find them painful, however.
The discarded shoes add up. Even an amateur who practices every-so-often will go through a lot. Unfortunately, many dancers are unaware of the recycling options available. Because of this, thousands of pointe shoes go to waste in the landfill every year.
Reducing and Recycling Options
There are a couple of things you can do immediately. The elastics and ribbons of the shoes can be reused. Dancers should be aware that moisture weakens the shoe. You can reduce the accumulation of it by drying the shoes in between sessions.
A great option is to simply donate the shoes if they’re still usable to One World Running. They will only accept ballet shoes if they can still be used for dancing. This is perfect if you have a child who has outgrown their pointe shoes. You can either mail the shoes to their headquarters in Colorado or find a drop off location. The pointe shoes are typically shipped to Cuba. Cuba’s dance schools desperately need pointe shoes.
Pointe shoes are made of organic materials, which often are recyclable. You can also look at a textile recycler that accepts clothing.
If you’re in charge of a dance company, you can throw a fundraiser and sell autographed shoes. This is great because you raise money and also recycle the shoes.
Unusable pointe shoes can be great for art projects. Check out pinterest for craft ideas.
You can also use more environmentally-sound shoes. Imperfect Pointes is an online ballet store that uses recyclable material. The store even has a sustainable business certificate from the University of Cambridge.
Another option is Petit Pas. It makes the pointe shoes into bracelets.
In summary, there are many great ideas of what you can do with your dead pointe shoes. However, you can’t just toss them in the curbside recycling bin.