Local company finds charitable use for boot liners
November 14, 2014
For years, Surefoot customers buying a pair of the company’s custom ski boot liners would ask what they could do with their old liners, which are not recyclable. And for years, Surefoot would tell them the same thing: Throwing them away is about the only option.
That changed last year. And as a result, hundreds of needy people in Mongolia have warm feet. Surefoot, a Park City-based company specializing in ski boots, has partnered with the organization SAVEarth to repurpose used ski boot liners by putting them in rubber boots and giving them to people in need.
Barry Woods, vice president of operations for Surefoot, said it all began about a year ago, when the company came in contact with Mark Barry, a surgeon who regularly goes on service trips to the Himalayan region. When Barry, the founder of SAVEarth, found out old liners were sent to landfills, the idea to repurpose them was born.
"One thing led to the next," Woods said, "and pretty soon we were putting ski boot liners in rubber boots on Mongolian feet."
Surefoot and SAVEarth spent last winter collecting and repurposing the liners. Then in September, Barry delivered about 1,000 pairs to Mongolia, where winters are frigid, with temperatures regularly dipping below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Woods said the recipients were grateful.
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"It’s been tremendously successful," he said. "The people over there who are helping us reach the people in need are saying that they could take hundreds of thousands of these."
The benefit is two-fold for Surefoot. Not only is the company helping impoverished people, its used boot liners are no longer being sent to landfills. And for a company that says it has long prided itself for being environmentally conscious, that’s a big deal.
"We’ve just tried to do anything we can to help promote recycling and conservation," Woods said.
While Surefoot continues to repurpose ski boot liners, Woods is hoping it doesn’t stop there.
"Our goal is to make this, like, a well-recognized charitable effort," he said. "Not only with ski boot liners but all types of things to help these people. So I believe in the next few years, you’ll see this going in a lot of different directions."
For more information on SAVEarth, visit savearth.us.
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