Welcome to the latest Treehouse newsletter. We hope it finds you well and ready to read about some green issues we’ve been thinking about. This week we will be looking at running shoes, trainers or sneakers (depending on who you ask), and how we can make ethical choices around their purchase.

If this is your first newsletter, welcome, we are so glad to have you here. You can find links to catch up on our previous newsletter at the end of the article.

Wishing you all a pleasant week,

The Treehouse Gang

#003 - Green Running

Some of us at The Treehouse are runners. We love the feeling of freedom it gives us and just heading out into the fresh air. We’re not sure you need all the “stuff” they claim you need for running but we do think that a decent pair of trainers are essential. This has got us thinking about the life-cycle of our trainers and a bit of research has led to some worrying discoveries.

Did you know that to make one pair of trainers uses enough energy to keep a 100-Watt lightbulb on for a week? The average trainer can have 65 separate parts and needs 360 steps for assembly. That’s a lot of effort for something we are told only lasts 6 – 12 months!

We hate to think of our old trainers living out the next millennia on a landfill site – as that’s how long they take to break down.

So how can we start to make this better?
Reduce/Refuse. Do you really need new trainers? Ask yourself this, are they still comfortable and is the sole still intact? We are often told that running trainers only have a “life” of 500miles. However, research now tells us that trainers have very little effect on injury prevention and if still comfortable and with an intact sole, we shouldn’t be too hasty to replace. Some big brand companies (for example innov-8 and On-running) are now using materials designed to last longer, so fewer new shoes need to be made (and sold).

But, OK, you need a new pair of runners, so where to start looking for the green(er) option? The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours looking for niche companies that compromise on running quality. We should always be aware of “Greenwashing” (the idea that big companies put on a front that they are green – but behind the scenes maintain bad eco-behaviours). Some big brand names are beginning to step up to the green agenda and promoting ranges of top quality performance trainers with improved eco credentials – see companies like, Brooks, Adidas, Vivobarefoot and Allbirds.

But what to do with those trainers that are worn beyond repair?
Recycle. Some local organisations will re-distribute your beloved old (intact) trainers to people in the community who are homeless or without the resources to buy new.  Nick from Running Bear in Alderley Edge is an ambassador for projects like this and Gary from Macc Harriers organises frequent drop offs from the leisure centre.  We’ve also learnt about the Savage Foundation (partnered with Macclesfield FC) who have a similar scheme running for used football boots to kit out kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.

If your trainers have been loved to breaking point, landfill can still be avoided by finding a shoe recycle bin. From here trainers are broken down into raw materials to repurpose or put back into manufacture (Shoe bin’s outside the Chemist and Grimshaw Lane Corner Shop in Bollington). Also, well-known high street brands (Nike and Runners Need) will take your old, smelly trainers and recycle them, with a cash incentive for you - look for #recyclemyrun.

Reuse. If you just can’t bear to part with your old foot friends, why not use them for something else? Gardening shoes, a handy door wedge, create a trainer herb garden, a birdhouse.... Trainers don't have to end up in landfill, let your imagination run wild.

Further Links:

Read: Do Running Shoes Cause or Prevent Injury? 
Find: #recyclemyrun
Explore: What is greenwashing? 
Connect: Running Bear,The Savage Foundation (


Saturday 15th May is the first ever Macclesfield Eco Summit - found out more here and sign up by emailing

Kate Ellis, who coordinates a Terracyle scheme in Macclesfield, is looking for help to sort through mountains of donations - you can contact her on Facebook

There is a new Facebook group in Macclesfield to share or swap surplus plants, seeds and gardening equipment. Join here.

A new Library of Things is coming soon to Bollington. If you have anything to donate, find out here about Bollington Borrowers.

Bring Your Own
Yas BEAN coffee van at the Recreation ground in Bollington is giving a discount to those who bring their own coffee cups!

20 May -  World Bee Day
17-21 May -  Walk to School Week
17-23 May - Water Saving Week 

Please share this newsletter with family and friends. If you not already subscribed, click here and you can also view past issues of the newsletter here. If you'd like to help bring The Treehouse to life please get in touch. We are looking for people who'd either like to pitch in with the development of our plan and strategy, or to help organise actions and events to build momentum in the area.
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Treehouse Ecohub · 20 Hurst Lane · Bollington · Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5LP · United Kingdom

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