The L.A.-based footwear company is giving back to those in need through its new recycling initiative

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New Republic Is Recycling and Donating Shoes to People in Need
Credit: Courtesy of New Republic

New Republic — the L.A.-based footwear company favored by stars like Mark Wahlberg and pro-footballer Baker Mayfield — is helping those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic through its new recycling initiative. 

Working with the non-profit Soles4Souls, the brand is helping customers donate their gently-used pairs of New Republic shoes to give to people fighting poverty in developing countries like Haiti, Guatemala and low-income communities within the United States.

The initiative's goal is two-fold: not only do the shoes help someone in need, but recycling a pair cuts down on environmental waste, too. Recycling just one pair of shoes can help prevent about 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from being released to manufacture a new pair of shoes and keeps about 1.25 pounds of textiles out of landfills, according to a New Republic press release. 

New Republic Is Recycling and Donating Shoes to People in Need
Credit: Courtesy of New Republic

"Footwear is a category that has been historically unkind to the environment," New Republic CEO Josh Kaplan tells PEOPLE. "We believe that we have a responsibility to weave sustainability into our DNA, and have been investing in more sustainable practices across the board."

He continues: "That includes our supply chain, materials, packaging, and fulfillment. We care about delivering value to our customers and our community, and this program is especially exciting for us as it gives us the opportunity to help our customers and community in more ways than one." 

Founded in 2016, New Republic quickly established itself as a trendy, affordable option for low-top sneakers, Chelsea boots and loafers. The brand is designed to appeal to the "modern millennial" — they offer sleek, neutral styles for both men and women, all under $150. 

New Republic Is Recycling and Donating Shoes to People in Need
Credit: Courtesy of New Republic

"We typically see that customers buy a second or third pair long before their shoes are near the end of their life cycle, mostly due to wanting a fresh, clean silhouette," Kaplan adds. "This partnership represents our creative commitment to extending the lives of these shoes for those in need." 

How the recycling program works: customers should grab their pre-loved pair of New Republic shoes, fill out a form on New Republic's website, and the company provides customers with a shipping label to mail their shoes. Those who participate in the program will also be given $30 off their next New Republic purchase of $75 and up. 

Two of the most popular styles are the Kurt Leather Sneaker, the perfect choice for minimalists looking to upgrade their white sneakers, and the Ventura Leather Chelsea Boot, a durable, dressier option with a classic silhouette.