Former England football keeper, David James, backs Utilita’s campaign to recycle 1 million pairs of football boots.
The boots, which would otherwise be thrown away, are to be collected in a freepost ‘boot bag’ ready for donation.
After collection, the boots will be offered out at pop-up claim stations across parks, football clubs and training grounds.
The campaign “which makes recycling football boots with plenty of life left in them, really easy” according to founder of Utilita, Bill Bullen, also has a number of key financial and environmental benefits.
As well as saving money for families across the UK, it is hoped that Utilita’s ‘Football ReBooted’ campaign will also save as much as 136,000 tonnes of carbon: the equivalent of heating 50,370 homes in the UK for one year.
David James has said “there are millions of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.”
Adding that the ‘donate and claim’ 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.”
United in their goals to help the environment, Premier League and EFL clubs across the UK have already stepped forward to donate their players’ retro, high quality and most wanted boots among other items.
With both academy and first team players from the likes of Southampton and Leeds United on board the campaign, there is hope that aspiring footballers will be given the opportunity to secure a pair of boots that are not only free or charge, but rich with prosperity.
Inspired by Utilita’s recent ‘State of Play’ report, the campaign has also welcomed schools to request that boots be sent to their pupils who are in need of the footwear to play football in or outside of school.
The report, which found that 32% less players have been returning to the pitch since the pandemic, also found that 74% of families have been financially impacted as a result of COVID-19.
Of this, 18% of parents also reported that they can no longer send their children to grassroots football because they can’t afford the price of the boots, shin pads, and other items needed to play.
Historically, football has united players of all financial statuses and backgrounds across the globe to play at equal level and “forge new friendships, many of which last a lifetime” according to David James.
On top of this, 63% of parents have reported both physical and health benefits of the sport for their children, with 55% agreeing that grassroots football is great for their child.
It is clear that football has more than simply its physical advantages for young people across the UK. Yet since the pandemic hit, 3 in 10 children have had to leave their club, with this number expected to rise even more in the coming months.
But whilst competing against waste and promoting recycling, Utilita have also created a culture of hope for young people and parents who have struggled throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
By making football boots free and accessible to those who need them, Utilita’s campaign aims to help young players to overcome the financial obstacles and return to the pitch to enjoy the “beautiful game” once more.