SINGAPORE: The partners of a Singapore shoe recycling programme, led by government agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) and US petrochemicals giant Dow, have apologised for a “lapse” that resulted in donated footwear being exported overseas for sale.
The shoe recycling programme, launched in July 2021, is aimed at transforming used sports shoes into materials that could be used for jogging tracks, fitness corners and playgrounds.
Partners of the project include waste management company Alba-WH, BT sports, which is responsible for converting used shoes into rubber granules, as well as sports retailer Decathlon, whose stores serve as drop-off points for donations. Standard Chartered was the initial sponsor for the first 200 collection bins in Singapore.
A recent Reuters investigation found that several pairs of shoes donated by the news agency in 2022 ended up in Indonesia, with some put up for sale in markets and bazaars.
Reuters tracked the footwear by inserting Bluetooth trackers inside the sole of the shoes.
According to the Reuters report, which was published on Saturday (Feb 25), none of the 11 pairs of shoes it donated was turned into exercise paths or kids’ parks in Singapore.
Instead, nearly all the tagged shoes ended up in the hands of Yok Impex, a Singapore company that deals with recyclables and second-hand goods, before moving on to Indonesia.