Betty’s Garden, an esosport project


Il Giardino di BETTY Logo

Betty’s Gardens are a wonderful nationwide project in Italy that combine solidarity with respect for the environment.

Elisabetta Salvioni Meletiou, the wife of Nicolas Meletiou, worked alongside her husband with dedication and grace in the creation and management of the esosport project until the day of her untimely death on July 2, 2011; the “Betty’s Garden” initiative is dedicated to her.

The project involves the creation or renovation of playgrounds made with safety surfacing produced through the process of recycling old sports shoes, tennis balls, bicycle tyres and inner tubes.



Wednesday April 17, 2013 –  “Il Boschetto” playground was inaugurated by mayor Ettore Fusco and Nicolas Meletiou at Opera (MI), with the first safety flooring for children donated to the local council by ESO, thanks to the esosport project.


Friday February 7, 2014 – in Florence a new Garden in the former Caterina de’ Medici school in Viale Guidoni was inaugurated. The event was attended by Matteo Renzi, then mayor of Florence, and Nicolas Meletiou.

GENOA – San Quirico

Monday September 28, 2015 – the inauguration of a new “Betty’s Garden” was held at the Carlo Garrone pre-school in San Quirico, Genoa. Attending were municipal councillors Pino Boero, for education, and Italo Porcile, for the environment, the President of AMIU, Marco Castagna, and Nicolas Meletiou, representing ESO. In addition, in the school grounds were installed fun elements of playground furniture made from recycling bins by recycling artist Emilio Milani.

ROME – Nursery School of BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas

Friday May 13, 2016  – at 11 am, at the nursery school of BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas, the inauguration of a “Betty’s Garden” was held at the branch in Via Aldobrandeschi, Rome. The Garden was created thanks to the efforts of bank employees, who contributed to the esosport project by putting their old sports shoes in the ESOboxes located in the various BNL branches. The inauguration was attended by president of the bank, Luigi Abete, Nicolas Meletiou, who donated the safety surfacing through the non-profit GOGREEN – onlus Association, and Manuela Olivieri Mennea, wife of the great athlete Pietro Mennea.

GENOA – Porto Antico

Friday May 20, 2016 – thanks to an agreement with AMIU a “Betty’s Garden” was opened  in the prestigious location of Porto Antico, in Genoa. This was the second “Betty’s Garden” to be created in Liguria, a playground covering an area of 250 m² renovated with safety surfacing obtained from the recycling of old sports shoes collected by the people of Genoa.

GENOA – Park of Villa Doria

Monday June 20, 2016  – at the Park of Villa Doria at Genoa Pegli a new “Betty’s Garden” opened, made from the collection and recycling of the sports shoes of the Genoa people. Thanks to an agreement with AMIU, which installed in various parts of the city ESOboxes and esosport run containers for the collection of shoes, Liguria’s third “Betty’s Garden” was created in an exceptionally beautiful park dating back to 1548, characterised by lush vegetation featuring oaks, conifers and exotic plants. Among those attending were Mauro Comely, President of the VII Ponente Municipality, Luca Zane, Communications Manager of AMIU Genoa, Italo Porcile, Councillor for the Environment of the Municipality of Genoa, the children of the pre-school and Nicolas Meletiou.

GENOA – Via Maculano

Thursday March 23, 2017 – in Via Maculano, Genoa another “Betty’s Garden” was inaugurated, a 70 m² playground made from the recycled sports shoes of the inhabitants of Genoa. Thanks to an agreement with AMIU and the commitment of the Genoese people who, increasingly attentive to the subjects of sustainability and the ‘recycling cycle’, donated their old sports shoes by dropping them into special containers installed at 30 collection points around the city, the fourth “Betty’s Garden” was created in the area, in Via Maculano. Attending the inauguration were Simone Leoncini and Maria Carla Italia, President and Councillor of the Active Citizenship of the I Centro Est Municipality respectively, Fabio Grubesich, Councillor for Environmental Protection, Marco Castagna, President of AMIU, Luca Zane, Communications Manager of AMIU, Alessandro Baldassari and Graziella Bonini from the AMIU Communications Office, and Nicolas Meletiou.

GENOA – Via Giordano Bruno, Albaro district

Saturday April 22, 2017  – a “Betty’s Garden” was opened in Via Giordano Bruno, in the Albaro district of Genoa. This is the 5th “Betty’s Garden” to be opened in the city, after those previously inaugurated at the pre-school Carlo Garrone in San Quirico, in Porto Antico, in the grounds of Villa Doria and in Via Maculano: tangible examples of the circular economy benefitting the community. Attending the event were Alessandro Morgante, President of the Municipality of Medio Levante, Carola Gattorna, Head of the ASD Skate Association, Luca Zane, Communications Manager of AMIU Genoa, and Nicolas Meletiou.

GENOA – Via delle Campanule, Quarto Alta

AMIU’s collaboration with ESO on the esosport project continues with the announcement of a new redevelopment initiative on Monday May 29, 2017, in Via delle Campanule at Quarto Alta.

The Genoese people, increasingly attentive to waste separation and the subjects of sustainability and recycling, continue to faithfully donate their old sports shoes by dropping them into the containers that AMIU, thanks to an agreement with ESO, has installed at 30 collection points around the city.

The ultimate aim of the collection, following a careful recycling process, is the generation of a secondary raw material, donated to the city by the ESO Benefit Corporation for the construction of a “Betty’s Garden” in Via delle Campanule, a 90 m² playground with a clear ecological and educational message for children.

This is the 6th Betty’s Garden in Genoa, and another tangible example of circular economy: instead of ending up as landfill old shoes are collected in special containers to be recycled for the benefit of the community, and used to make safety surfacing for the district’s playground.

GENOA – Colombo Pre-school, at Via Apparizione 16

Thanks to the collaboration between AMIU, the Municipality of  Levante and ESO, on April 10, 2018 a new “Betty’s Garden” was inaugurated in Via Apparizione, on the hills of Genoa, made with the recycled sports shoes of the Genoese people.

Always attentive to waste separation and the subjects of sustainability and recycling, the people of Genoa continue to faithfully donate their old sports shoes by dropping them into the containers that AMIU has installed at 26 collection points around the city.

The recycled material has been used to make the safety surfacing for the “Betty’s Garden” created on the grounds of the Colombo pre-school at Via Apparizione 16.

Over 2,500 pairs of used sports shoes were used to make the surfacing of the new 35 m² playground, an educational message teaching children the value of separate waste collection.

Attending the inauguration were Tiziana MerlinoDirector of AMIU Genoa, the Councillor for Civic Services, Patrizia Arrighetti of the Municipality of Levante and Nicolas Meletiou. “This Garden”, explained Tiziana Merlino, “has allowed us to recover an outdoor green space for the children of Via Apparizione. It is a real, tangible example of what can be achieved through separate waste collection and quality recycling. We will now focus on developing our collection points”.

Besides being a symbol of the recycling of materials, in fact, the creation of the new Garden is also a useful way to redevelop part of an area of the city and a way to thank the residents for their efforts in reducing waste. The Garden also became home to an old recycling bin that was salvaged from the street and transformed into a playground element for children to play in.

“We are thrilled that our collaboration with AMIU has produced a new “Betty’s Garden” in the city, says Nicolas Meletiou. “This confirms that recycling is a value to the people of Genoa, that they are well aware of the importance of separate waste collection and that from the recycling cycle waste can be transformed into a resource and returned to the community in a new form – a beautiful playground for children.”

CESANO BOSCONE (MI) – I Giardini della Costituzione

In 2016 the Municipality of Cesano Boscone decided to join the esosport run  project, and initiated a process of collecting and recycling old, discarded sports shoes.

Collection in the area was made possible through the installation of special, easily recognisable esosport run ESObox containers, placed in strategic and highly frequented points of the city such as the City Library, the City Hall in Via Vespucci, the Bruno Cereda sports centre and all the primary and secondary schools in the city.

The collection project has been efficiently supported in recent years by the local council, in collaboration with esosport, including through educational initiatives aimed at explaining to the people of the city the importance of a gesture that is so simple and yet so vital to the environment – that of allocating old shoes to a just cause rather than throwing them away.

Through the GOGREEN – Onlus Association ESO donated to the Cesano Boscone council the material for the construction of a “Betty’s Garden” playground, in memory of Elisabetta Salvioni Meletiou, with safety surfacing made from the recycled shoes.
The inauguration of the new playground, a real example of local circular economy, was held on Saturday June 2, 2018Italy’s Republic Day, as part of the events planned by the Municipality of Cesano Boscone to celebrate the opening of the new green area covering around 10,500 m², I Giardini della Costituzione.

“It is our council’s wish that this project may be a message to the children, that we can care for the environment through small gestures”, says the Mayor of Cesano Boscone, Simone Negri. How many pairs of shoes do children go through as they are growing up? Shoes are waste in all respects, clear examples of the attitude which for too long we have had towards consumption. In this case, worn-out shoes are given back to the child in the form of the safety surfacing of playgrounds. Children then see how their shoes can be returned to them directly in a form they can benefit from. Besides this, the playground was actually designed by the pupils of a school. And this is a great added value”.

“Our collaboration with the Municipality of Cesano Boscone”, says Nicolas Meletiou, “dates back to 2016 when the Council joined our esosport run project dedicated to the collection and recycling of old sports shoes, and put it into effect in the area, actively involving the local people in the importance of environmental sustainability.
Combining our efforts with the collection of old shoes, we initiated together with the local Council an awareness campaign on the subject of sustainability and respect for the environment with the children of the primary schools in the school year 2015/2016: our thanks to all the pupils who so enthusiastically and cheerfully took part in the competition Un altro giro di gomma (“Another lap for rubber).  “Betty’s Garden” features safety surfacing made with a secondary raw material (rubber granules) obtained from processing and recycling sports shoes. This is not just a new playground for the local people of Cesano Boscone, in fact, but also a tangible example of circular economy benefitting the community”.

The pupils of the Cesana Boscone schools participated actively in the competition, both by adding a generous quantity of old sports shoes to the esosport run ESOboxes installed at the schools and by contributing with their designs for the playground.
The winners of the “Betty’s Garden” design competition were the children of class 5ªD of the Dante Alighieri Primary School for the school year 2015/2016, who were invited to attend the inauguration on Saturday June 2.

Taking part in the “I Giardini della Costituzione” event were:

The council architect Roberto Biffi, who had the task of implementing the solutions that were most appreciated by the local people for the area of ??the historic centre and “I Giardini della Costituzione”. “Betty’s Garden” also bears the recognizable mark of the architect Biffi, who made the safety surfacing even more appealing with a choice of colours that creates continuity between the playground and the axis joining the historic centre to the Sacra Famiglia.

The orchestra of the Alessandrini Secondary School, directed by Maestro Giuseppe Mesiano, and the choir of the fourth and fifth classes of the Bramante Primary School, directed by Prof. Mariateresa Amenduni.

The President Emeritus of the ANPI, Carlo Smuraglia.

Lieutenant Pietro Scarpitta, who served as Commander of the Carabinieri station of Cesano Boscone from March 3, 1982 to May 17, 2018 and who, in the course of the ceremony, was awarded honorary citizenship “for his great sense of duty and loyalty towards the State and its institutions and his constant support of the Cesano Boscone community; for the extraordinary dedication and great sense of duty with which he practised his profession, acting with conscious steadfastness and exceptional motivation in the service of the people of Cesano Boscone, showing in every circumstance a spirit of sacrifice and a highly professional approach”.

The choir of the pupils of the fourth and fifth classes of the Da Vinci Primary Schools, accompanied by Prof. Andrea Rotoli.

GENOA – Giardini Marco e Dino Rossi in Corso Firenze

The collection of old sports shoes continues in Genoa: from the upcycling a new “Garden of Betty” is born at the Marco and Dino Rossi Gardens in Corso Firenze.

Eco-sustainability, recycling cycle, circular economy are topics that the citizens of Genoa demonstrate to know well and to support with their daily actions.
It is thanks to their attention to these issues that esosport, a project dedicated to the collection and recycling of used sports materials, inaugurated on 25th October 2018 a new “Garden of Betty”, made with the anti-trauma flooring obtained from the recycling of old sports shoes collected in the points located by AMIU on the territory and identifiable with the containers ESObox esosport run.

The initiative is part of the collaboration between ESO and AMIU, created to increase and enhance local initiatives to promote separate collection and to spread an environmental culture in favor of the cycle of recycling and sustainability.

The collection of old sports shoes, with the esosport project, has as its ultimate goal the generation of secondary raw material, which ESO Benefit Society has donated free of charge to the city for the construction of the anti-trauma flooring, about 70 square meters, the playground “Il Giardino di Betty”, located in the Giardini Dino and Marco Rossi in Corso Firenze.

The sense of this new realization, in addition to the importance of the birth of a new playground for children, is enriched by a strong educational message on the value of separate collection and represents a concrete case of circular economy.

The inauguration was attended by some classes of the Maria Mazzini Primary School of Genoa CastellettoCarla Zanoni, Andrea Grasso, Marco Addezzati, Luca Zane,  Alessandro Baldassarri and Nicolas Meletiou.