PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Recycling will open the newly constructed Nike Grind playground at the WSU Children’s Center on April 22. The field-turf-material construction project was funded through a combined grant from Nike Inc. and the National Recycling Coalition.

In 2002, WSU collected than 5,500 pairs of shoes to donate to Nike for its Reuse-a-Shoe Program. Nike recycles all parts of the shoe to create various sports surfaces.  Aiding in the effort, were WSU branch campuses in Washington, rural school districts throughout eastern Washington and northern Idaho, and other campus departments.

“Without the combined effort of all of our participants, we wouldn’t have had the success that we did,” said Judi Dunn, WSU recycling education coordinator.  “We really had a phenomenal amount of support from the community, as well as those people involved with the university.”

WSU Recycling is continuing to collect shoes through 2004 and has expanded its efforts to include more rural communities, some as far south as Oregon.  “We hope to increase our efforts each year.  We have some dedicated individuals who have created a wonderful program here,” Dunn said.

Nike started the program in 1993 to resurface athletic fields, courts, tracks and playgrounds. Since the program began, 13 million shoes have been recycled.

Dunn said the success of the program can be measured by the number of shoes collected and the enthusiasm of the many area communities, business and agencies that participated.