Nike Grind is part of Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program that was started in 1993. The purpose of the program is to eliminate waste and close the loop on Nike's product lifecycle by collecting post-consumer, non-metal-containing athletic shoes of any brand, including Nike shoes that are returned due to material or workmanship defects.
Once collected, the sneakers are ground up and separated into three distinct types of material: rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the shoe's upper. Nike and its partners (Atlas Track & Tennis, Playtop, Training Ground, Everlast and Rebound Ace) take the granulated rubber and create soccer, football, baseball fields, weight room flooring and running tracks. The first synthetic turf soccer field installed with Nike Grind rubber was Douglas Park in Chicago. That surface was donated by Nike and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Nike uses the granulated foam from the shoes for synthetic basketball courts, tennis courts and playground surfacing tiles. The granulated fabric from the shoe uppers becomes the padding under hardwood basketball floors.
There are two Nike Grind processing plants, one located in the United States and the other in Belgium. The American facility uses a "slice and grind" technique, where each shoe is cut into three slices that contain the main materials. These slices are fed through grinders and purified to become the different types of material. The Belgian facility grinds the shoes whole, and passes the resulting material through a series of separators for the same three groups of material.
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