If you exercise regularly, you probably wear through sneakers rather quickly. Rather than throw away those used shoes, recycle them. Your old shoes could help foster a microbusiness in Africa, protect the feet of a needy child in Haiti, become part of a new tennis court, or live on in the soles of an athlete's new shoes.

1. Soles 4 Souls collects new and used shoes to benefit people in need, whether it's in the wake of a natural disaster like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or in chronically impoverished regions of nations like Honduras and Ghana. Soles for Souls promises, "No shoes we receive are ever thrown away or end up in landfills, ever." Since being founded in 2004, the organization has distributed 19 million pairs of new and used shoes to people in 125 nations.

Sole 4 Souls also offers the chance to volunteer in their outreach efforts, distributing footwear in Africa, Central and South America. Perhaps most importantly, the organization wants to make a long-term impact by creating microenterprises. In other words, Soles 4 Souls helps people become self-reliant by establishing and maintaining their own small businesses.

Currently, they are campaigning to receive 264,000 pairs by January 2014 in order to maintain microenterprise operations in Haiti for one year.* To find the nearest donation center check their website, Soles4Souls.org.

2. The Nike ReUse A Shoe program is part of the shoe giant's corporate efforts to reduce waste in the production cycle. Since 1990, the company claims to have collected 28 million pairs of shoes to be recycled and turned into a substance they call Nike Grind. It can be used in running tracks, basketball court padding, as a base for tennis courts, or in the soles of new athletic shoes.

Athletic shoes of any brand are accepted, but consumers cannot recycle shoes containing metal, cleats, dress shoes, wet or damp shoes, sandals or flip-flops. Drop-off locations are found around the world; find your nearest one here.

3. One World Running was founded in 1986 by a group of runners from Boulder, Colorado, with a mission of* "promoting an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world." The organization also distributes clothing, medicine and art supplies to impoverished regions, including sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and Haiti.

Shoes can be dropped off at local running stores or shipped to the organization. Shoes deemed not worthy of shipping are donated to the Nike ReUse A Shoe program. More information on how to donate can be found on their website OneWorldRunning.com.

Tags: Since You Asked, Running Shoes, Yoga Mats
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