Football Rebooted campaign recycles unwanted boots, including those from Premier League clubs, and gives them to players who need them
Premier League football players are among those pledging to donate unwanted boots to a new recycling scheme that will get much-needed football kit into the hands – and onto the feet – of younger players.
Budding footballers in need of new footwear could soon be able to collect a pair of upcycled boots that may have once belonged to a player at a top flight club.
Former England goalkeeper David James talks about the Football Rebooted campaign
The Football Rebooted campaign, backed by former England goalkeeper David James and organised by energy supplier Utilita, aims to help the nation recycle one million pairs of football boots.
As well as saving an estimated 136,000 tonnes of carbon by finding a second use for the boots – the same as taking 7,000 cars off the road for a year – the campaign launched today (Saturday) will pass on the unwanted footwear to younger players who have either outgrown or worn-out their existing pair.
The 'donate and claim' system enables anyone with spare astro boots or those with studs to request a freepost boot bag to send off their unwanted shoes.
'Claim stations' in parks, at training grounds and at some UK football clubs, as they begin welcoming back fans, will then distribute those collected.
Alongside donations from the public, Premier League and English Football League clubs are also joining the initiative with plans to donate both first team boots and those no longer used by younger academy players.
Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby County and Leeds United are among those to have already signed-up.
It means premium pairs of the ‘most wanted’ boots, former and current players’ boots, retro boots and other items donated by the public will all be in the mix, giving anyone passing a 'claim station' a chance to come along and grab a pair to be proud of.
According to Utilita’s State of Play report, out of the 74% of families who admitted to having been impacted financially by the pandemic, 18% said they would struggle to send their children back to grassroots clubs because of the cost of replacing outgrown items such as boots and shin pads.
It's hoped the Football Rebooted scheme will both save old boots from going to landfill and create an extremely fun and unique claim system that avoids any family needing to feel embarrassed at taking second-hand items.
Campaign ambassador, David James MBE, said: "Right now, there are millions of pairs of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.
"Getting these boots replayed through Utilita’s Football Rebooted campaign will not only save players a few quid but will also act as an important reminder about the power of upcycling and reusing items that still have a lot of life left in them."
As part of the new campaign, schools can also request boots be sent to them for children and teenagers who they identify as needing footwear to enable them to play either in or outside of school.
Phil Harding, English Schools' FA (ESFA) chairman, said: "The last 12 months have been very difficult for families, teams, players and schools alike and, as the National Governing Body for Schools' Football, the ESFA welcome any campaign to help ensure children have every opportunity to take part in a sport that they are passionate about, but that is also so beneficial for both their physical and mental health.
"The Football Rebooted campaign not only has a great environmental message but is also working towards helping children to be active, participate and enjoy school sport."
Find out more information about the campaign visit www.footballrebooted.co.uk
Schools wishing to receive donated boots should email email@example.com to request the sizes they need and if they wish to also collect donations from families Football Rebooted can also arrange a collection.