Adidas revealed that it had surpassed a target set back in November 2016, to mass-produce and sell one million pairs of shoes that are made using recovered ocean plastics. An average of 11 plastic bottles are used per pair and are recycled into laces and heel webbing and lining.

Adidas uses marine waste sourced from Parley for the Oceans’ clean-up operations, which are located in the Maldives and along 1,000 coral islands off the western coast of India. Having originally unveiled the prototype at a United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2015, Adidas has since added a 3D-printed midsole made from recycled polyester and fill net content.

Back in 2016, only 50 pairs of plastic prototype trainers were available, but this had been scaled to 7,000 as Adidas’ partnership with Parley gained momentum. Parley claims that the one million target uses at least 11 million plastic bottles retrieved from coastal areas. The trainers consist of 95% ocean plastic and 5% recycled polyester.

The one million target forms part of a wider collaborative commitment from Parley to “make eco innovation the new industry standard” through the Parley A.I.R. Strategy. The strategy calls on companies to avoid, intercept and redesign in order to end long-term plastic pollution in marine environments.

Adidas has also used some of the collected ocean waste in various football kit ranges, including special edition Real Madrid and Bayern Munich kits.

Parley partners

The sportswear company isn’t the only company to partner with Parley to tackle ocean waste. Mexican beer brand Corona is working with the organisation to protect 100 islands against rising marine plastic pollution by 2020. The islands are located across regions near Mexico, the Maldives, Australia, Chile, Italy and the Dominican.

Last year, British fashion designer Stella McCartney announced an extended collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, to support the “fragility” of the oceans and help combat rising marine plastic pollution. Stella McCartney now acts as an ambassador to the A.I.R Strategy.

While numerous retailers are working to reduce reliance on plastics through sweeping strategies that eliminate the need for them, companies like Adidas and HP are working to create uses for the sheer volume of plastics currently in the oceans. The issue has become so serious that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

Matt Mace

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