Bethany Downer is keeping shoes out of the landfill.

Photo from Bethany Downer.

Photo from Bethany Downer.

#14 - BETHANY DOWNER
AGE: 21
HOMETOWN: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Bethany Downer is the founder and president of the non-profit organization One Step Shoe Recycling. She is a hard working youth leader that has made environmental engagement her top priority.

Bethany first became involved in environmental issues when she attended the IMPACT Sustainable Students Leadership Conference in 2014. This experience launched her into her shoe recycling initiative. Bethany found research showing that most people either throw shoes out without repairing them or hoard them in their homes and saw a market gap she could tap into.

The One Step Shoe Recycling organization she founded encourages sustainable consumerism by collecting and mending footwear that some consider waste and giving it to those in need, thus preventing more than 9,000 pounds of waste from entering local landfills. Those collected shoes have been given to the homeless, abused women, at-risk youth, and low income families across the country. They've recently been able to provide footwear for many other communities across the world.

Bethany’s initiative has been deeply appreciated, as she received cards from a village in Zimbabwe who were recipients of One Step’s shoe donations, saying that these were the first pair of quality shoes ever worn by many of the village’s children.

Bethany hopes to lead the organization for years to come, incorporate the USA and expand the project as much as possible.

She would like to thank her parents who have sacrificed resources, driven her to schools and shelters and been the best volunteers. She would also like to thank all shoe donors who help cut down on landfill waste and assist those in need.

Bethany has proved that youth can lead enormous projects and is an inspiration to us all!

Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 2015 Magazine
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The Starfish Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 Magazine showcases the 25 finalists from 2015 with longer articles, new pictures, and captivating stories from across Canada. All proceeds directly fund The Starfish Canada's programming to assist youth in understanding and amplifying the environmental issues they're most passionate about. 

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Pre-order The Starfish Canada's Top 25 magazine! You'll get more pictures and longer stories about Canada's youth leaders. All proceeds go directly to funding The Starfish Canada's programming across the nation.