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Solid Waste Agency of Lake County
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Every year, across the globe, millions of pairs of shoes end up in landfills or disposed of in some other way, creating a lot of waste. Much of what we consider unwanted waste can actually be recycled or repurposed. With the pursuit of sustainability in mind, SWALCO developed a program to keep these materials from being thrown out and this year in 2014, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Shoe Recycling and Reuse Program. Over this time, many tons of shoes have been collected through this program and, these tons, have all been recycled or reused.

It is estimated that 85% or more of these unwanted items end up in our landfills, which here in the U.S. and around the world, are filling up fast. No matter what age we are, most of us have at least a few pairs or more of unwanted shoes hanging out in our closets. Some may be shoes we just don’t wear, shoes we have outgrown, or those that have gotten a little worn around the edges.

Scout troops, Park Districts, Schools, Churches, Libraries, City and Village Departments and administration, as well as corporate groups and other community organizations have all participated in this worthwhile and fun program.

Currently all types of shoes can be brought in and collected, with the exception of: rollerblades, ice skates and winter boots. All other boots, like dress boots, hiking boots and rain boots are accepted. Any brand and any size will be accepted. Shoes in any condition, from new or gently used, to those that are worn, will be accepted. Even those with stains or holes will be accepted. And, the great news is that 95% or more of all the materials collected will be recycled or reused and not only that – you can be a part of this great effort!

Everyone can take part. Make a difference in your community that reaches so much further beyond and Reuse Those Shoes!

There are two ways you can participate:

  1. Individuals or families with just a few pairs of shoes (all types) they'd like to recycle from their home can stop by one of the drop-off locations, which include places like libraries, park districts, village halls and public works departments. Some drop-off locations operate year-round, while others sites operate on a shorter term basis, usually in the late winter and spring.  Please look at the list of Year-Round Drop-off Collection Sites for the location nearest you or ask if your local workplace, library or park district is collecting during a particular time of year.  If you have more than 15-20 pairs of shoes, please contact SWALCO at 847.336.9340.
  2. Groups who have a larger number of shoes or would like to collect them, should not drop off at any of the drop-off sites.  Please contact SWALCO at 847.336.9340. Groups can register to collect any number of shoes – there is no minimum or maximum number you have to collect and it’s flexible and fun.

Sign Up to Be Part of the Fun: Register Your Group!

  • It's an opportunity to participate hands-on in a recycling program where old shoes are given a second life, keeping literally tons of "stuff" out of our rapidly depleting landfills.
  • You'll make a difference in your community that reaches beyond.
  • There's a flexible timeline and no maximum number of shoes to collect; you can collect 10 or 10,000 shoes.
  • Every one--all ages--can participate.  Almost everyone has shoes they need homes for.
  • SWALCO provides materials and resources to help.
  • Your organization will be recognized.
  • There are opportunities to win cool, eco-friendly prizes!
  • There are ideas and activities for corporate and community Green Teams, Scouts, Schools, Youth Groups, and others.
  • It's fun and it's free!

Please contact Merleanne Rampale at or call 847.336.9340 x 4 if you'd like to be part of the fun and make a difference in your community.  All groups must register, complete and return an Agreement/Application that will be sent with a list of Program Guidelines that need to be followed.

If you are a return group, please contact Merleanne for the agreement form and let her know when you will be beginning your next collection. Some groups may decide to do a 1-3 month collection, while others may decide to collect longer. All registered groups will have an opportunity to win eco-friendly prizes and awards and all groups will receive a special certificate.

Drop Off Locations

Some groups have offered to act as year round drop-offs for the program for individuals or families who may have a few shoes they would like to drop-off to be recycled.  Please drop-off your shoes during operating/business hours.  Other scheduled drop-offs will be announced closer to the date.

If you have more than 15-20 pairs of shoes, please contact SWALCO.  These locations are not for large shoe collections.  If you wish to collect shoes, please register and participate through SWALCO's program.

Year-Round Drop Off Locations
Chicagoland Indoor Tennis Association
(at multiple locations)

*During regular business/operational hours
College Park Athletic Club East
2223 Half Day Rd., Bannockburn, IL
Five Season Sports Club
1300 Techny Rd., Northbrook, IL
Glenbrook Racquet Club​
1801 Janke Dr., Northbrook, IL
North Shore Racquet Club
2860 Old Willow Rd., Northbrook, IL​
Northbrook Racquet Club
2995 Dundee Rd., Northbrook, IL​
Ela Township Highway Department 23605 N. Echo Lake Rd., Hawthorn Woods, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Fox Lake
(at multiple locations)

​*During regular business/operational hours
Lakefront Park
71 Nippersink Blvd., Fox Lake, IL
Community Center
23 South St., Fox Lake, IL​
Village Hall
66 Thillen Dr., Fox Lake, IL​
​Fremont Township ​22385 Route 60, Mundelein, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Grayslake   Public Works Department
585 Berry Avenue, Grayslake, IL. 
​*During regular business/operational hours

*During regular business/operational hours

Village Hall
325 N. O'Plaine Road, Gurnee, IL
Fire Station No. 2
6581 Dada Drive, Gurnee, IL.
Hawthorn Woods Park District/Village Hall 2 Lagoon Dr., Hawthorn Woods, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Highwood City Hall 17 Highwood Ave, Highwood, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Lake Bluff Park District 335 W. Washington Ave., Lake Bluff, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Lindenhurst Village Hall 2301 E. Sand Lake Road, Lindenhurst, IL
*During regular business/operational hours
Mundelein Park & Recreation District 1401 N. Midlothian Rd., Mundelein, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​North Chicago ​Department of Public Works
1421 Renken Dr., North Chicago, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Prairieland Disposal 21988 N. Pepper Rd., Lake Barrington, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Round Lake Park ​Village Hall
203 E Lake Shore Dr., Round Lake Park, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Vernon Hills
(at multiple locations) ​

​*During regular business/operational hours
Public Works Department​
490 Greenleaf Dr., Vernon Hills, IL
Park District​
635 Aspen Dr., Vernon Hills, IL
(at multiple locations)

​*During regular business/operational hours
​Village Hall
101 N. Main St., Wauconda, IL
Public Library
801 N. Main St., Wauconda, IL
Public Works
302 Slocum Lake Rd., Wauconda, IL
District #118 Schools
​Park District
600 N. Main St., Wauconda, IL
Federated Church
200 Barrington Rd., Wauconda, IL
​Wauconda Township 505 W. Bonner, Wauconda, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Waukegan Park District ​Field House at Hinkston Park
800 N. Baldwin Ave., Waukegan, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Zion Village Hall 2828 Sheridan Rd., Zion, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Zion-Benton Public Library 2400 Gabriel Ave., Zion, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours

Other scheduled drop-offs: Dates these location will collect shoes is listed after their contact information. I f you have more than 15-20 pairs of shoes, please contact SWALCO at 847.336.9340. You may want to confirm collection dates before dropping off shoes. Please visit our site again for additional sites.

Seasonal Drop-Off Sites    *Please Note listed collection dates per location*
Buffalo Grove Park District (February 23 to April 20, 2015)
Alcott Center
530 Bernard Drive, Buffalo Grove, IL
*During regular business/operational hours
Fitness Center
601 W. Deerfield Parkway, Buffalo Grove, IL
*During regular business/operational hours 
College of Lake County (April 1 through April 20, 2015) 19351 West Washington St., Grayslake, IL
Student Activities Office: C-Wing
Student Life Office: B-Wing
*During regular business/operational hours
​Grayslake Area Public Library (January 22 through April 28, 2015) 100 Library Lane, Grayslake, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
Green Minds of Lake Bluff & Lake Forest
(March 21 through April 25, 2015)
258 Market Square, Lake Forest, IL
​Kiddles Sporting Goods - Market Square
*During regular business/operational hours
Lake County Health Department @ the County Permit Center (March 1 through April 30, 2015)  500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, IL
*During regular business/operational hours
Lake County Health Department
(March 1 through April 30, 2015)  
3010 Grand Avenue, Waukegan, IL 
*During regular business/operational hours
Lake County Health Department
(March 1 through April 30, 2015)  
2100 Belvidere Street, Waukegan, IL
*During regular business/operational hours 
Representative Carol Sente's Office
(March 1 through April 30, 2015)
430 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite 8, Lincolnshire, IL
*During regular business/operational hours  
Riverwoods Village Hall (April 1 through April 29, 2015) 300 Portwine Road, Riverwoods, IL
*During regular business/operational hours
​Vernon Area Public Library (April 1 through April 30, 2015) 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours
​Warren-Newport Public Library (March 16 - April 26, 2015) 224 N. O'Plaine Road, Gurnee, IL
​*During regular business/operational hours

​Accepted Items

  • Men’s, Women’s and Children’s Footwear – All Sizes
  • Dress Shoes
  • Work Shoes
  • Casual Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Crocs
  • Sandals
  • Clogs
  • Slip-ons
  • Slippers
  • Hiking Boots
  • Rain Boots
  • Dress Boots
  • Fashion Shoes
  • Loafers
  • Athletic Shoes of all Kinds
  • Light-up shoes

If you have a question about acceptable footwear, please contact SWALCO at 847.336.9340 x 4.

​Items Not Accepted

  • Rollerblades
  • Ice Skates
  • Winter Boots


Please Note: All other boots will be accepted, including: Hiking, rain, dress, and work boots