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Your Sneakers Are Part of the Plastic Problem | National Geographic ctm magazine

Our shoes say something about us. But the problem is that they’re not recyclable, and most are made with plastic. The average American bought seven pairs of shoes in 2018, and most of them end up in the trash.
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Check out all episodes of The Story of Plastic here:

Read more in “Your shoes are made of plastic. Here’s why.”

Check out the National Geographic Planet or Plastic? initiative here:

Your Sneakers Are Part of the Plastic Problem | National Geographic

National Geographic



  • National Geographic on October 22, 2019

    Since the majority of shoes are a mixture of different materials, they are difficult to recycle and most end up in landfills. To learn more, you can read on here: https://on.natgeo.com/31qV9eU

  • Nihbps Mcgee on November 2, 2019

    Want a solution to the plastic shoe problem? Leather.

  • ian roselio on November 2, 2019

    its better to buy used good condition shoes. less cost, still wearable, pro recycling, less consume of pollutants and thrash

  • yayafilms on November 2, 2019

    Tbh the 7 shoes per year statistic can be half accounted for by skaters alone lmao

  • demonic on November 2, 2019

    Take thet vsco girls

  • H. O on November 2, 2019

    Tennis and chill lol

  • lazymusician10 on November 2, 2019

    This was very interesting.
    There are a few shoes I've found online that are made from recycled materials or wool. And read the reviews for them & they last awhile. I mean there out there just not mentioned much unless a YouTuber mentions them (mainly minimalists) or someone on social media or pop up as an ad & catches the person's eye.

    It's all on if the person wants to make the switch or not.

  • Noukz on November 2, 2019

    You missed one word National Geographic,


  • Denisa K on November 2, 2019

    With money comes responsbility and with money people lose the responsibility. It's never-ending cycle.

  • Nofretari on November 2, 2019

    I have bought four pairs of shoes in two years including a pair of snow boots and replaced my slip on shoes after the rubber bottoms where destroyed putting out a fire

  • Dj Correct on November 3, 2019

    Skateboard industry is growing like never and brands like nike and adidas on the top of the game, an average pro skater goes by a pair a week or 2, they probably the biggest consumers of shoes in the planet, i do not see other activity that makes shoes wear out that fast. Something to think about.

  • Coco Poco on November 3, 2019

    Human race is cancer for the Earth

  • Spiral Breeze on November 3, 2019

    Leather shoes are the best, they’re like a second skin because they ARE skin.

  • schrille on November 3, 2019

    Actually in 2018 24,7 BILLION shoes were produced and not 24 million (regarding to World Footwear Yearbook)

  • Anna1AK on November 3, 2019

    Seriously? Blaming tennis???
    So I wear plastic- bad for environment, if I wear leather- bad for animals. Plastic bags are bad for oceans, paper bags are bad for forests. Where does it stop?

  • Si on November 3, 2019

    Apparently my Supergas are 100% compostable?

  • Nevena Gavrić on November 4, 2019

    It isn’t our faul for consuming plastic, it’s what we have. It’s our fault however that we didn’t invent something that will replace plastic.

  • kRionOfLaguna cyber on November 4, 2019

    LeBron james shoes are ugly ASF.

  • Ian Turnbow on November 4, 2019

    When I was skateboarding 5+ days a week I would go through 1-2 pairs of shoes a month rather consistently. In terms of skating, most people either give their shoes to someone or toss them out. Certain athletic activities require new shoes more than others. But, we don’t have many options for high quality, sustainable athletic/sports-related shoes.
    At least in Western culture there seems to be a push for high end dress shoes/boots and simply repairing rather than buying new pairs.

  • Push Boundaries on November 4, 2019

    I wonder who makes the money selling them, but they are never blamed, what a joy

  • Colin Smith on November 4, 2019

    Plastic is bio degradable

  • Created by Nemanja on November 5, 2019

    "OUR" not Your

  • Jacob Gasser on November 5, 2019

    Albirds ftw

  • Emma M on November 8, 2019

    CHECK OUT @allbirds they're an environmental and aesthetically beautiful tennis shoe brand

  • might.be.a.mushroom on November 9, 2019

    tbh i hate sneakers. they're hot, stiff, and uncomfortable. Would rather wear flats, boots, sandals…literally anything else

  • Ray K on November 12, 2019

    Vote with your wallets. Stop paying for plastics.

    Less demand, less supply.

  • Dinu Desculţ on November 14, 2019

    I have no shoes (sneakers). My bare feet are the best shoes in the world – I'm barefoot hiker ! 👣 ^__^

  • I Eat Plastic on December 20, 2019

    We can always donate them to someone so it gets more use.

  • c'est moi on January 20, 2020

    “Can sneakers become sustainable?”

    Ummm… you mean like before? Before plastic was introduced to sneaker design? Cuz if that’s what you mean, then yeah. They can be more sustainable.

    Just stop using plastic.

  • Imran Mahmud on January 21, 2020

    You said Jack dempsey but you should a small glimpse of Gene tunny, the fighting marine

  • Matthew Collins on February 8, 2020

    Now I feel guilty of just wearing shoes

  • Tired Momma on February 27, 2020

    I had to pause to take a moment to say, what kind of dumb "average American" buys 7 pairs of shoes in 1 year?! Now are you thinking of a person buying for their family, or themselves? As that makes a big difference. The shoes I have now, we got I think in 2016 or 2017. I also have a leather pair of shoes I've had for well over 10yrs. You can make shoes last by simple touch ups. Just like pants can be patched up, so can fabric shoes. Other shoes, just shoe glue & paint to match. Ok, back to watching for me….
    Ok, so has anyone tried cork as a cushion material? It's lightweight however breathable is questionable unless you give it micro holes. I've a piece of cork wood from the late 80's. It's not bendable anymore, it's still very lightweight, and if you cut into it, it still creates squeaks, lol. I broke think parts off to see if those were bendable, but no, they break easily. However cork is reusable to a point. I've never done any research on cork wood, this is just my observations.

  • sairam chinni on March 10, 2020

    I hope we would replace plastic..

  • Rodjer Focs on April 2, 2020

    The Bible predicted that the time would come when people would destroy the earth (“destroy those who destroy the earth” Revelation 11:18). Is this prophecy fulfilling before our eyes? How much more damage will the earth do? Is there a point of no return? Will human actions lead to the destruction of our planet?

  • Alex Draco on April 6, 2020

    be quiet

  • Caprice Hunting on April 8, 2020

    Thats me at 3:09 with the Nike Air Bound 2's LOL

  • SYAHMI HAKIM BIN ABDUL HALIM on April 19, 2020

    The conclusion is, don't use shoes. That's all from me thank you ; )

  • K O K O on June 1, 2020

    We can donate them my fam always dose

  • Jane remoro show on July 3, 2020

    Ummm I only buy shoes when they either rip or don’t fit and give me blisters

  • Create Love Happy on July 3, 2020

    Barefoot or close to barefoot so we can become grounded again with the earth should be the new direction, not more shoes

  • 左将军领徐州牧如东侯 on September 15, 2020

    I love National Geographic! 🍉😘

  • Yashoda Mendiratta on December 7, 2020

    Sorry but this video does not share the solution.

  • Volcano_ Head__ on February 12, 2021

    the song at 2:25 slaps ngl

  • NameinProgress on August 27, 2021

    N a t i o n a l g e o g r a p h i c s h o e s t h o

  • Red Butterfly on October 22, 2021

    Recyled plastics are not durable, it will crack in a year. Then it will be onother garbage fast fashion that contributes to even worst world wide waste problem. Stop using any product from plastic.

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