adidas Turns Plastic Waste Into Shoes

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  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • December 18, 2015 at 11:42 AM

Everyone knows plastic waste in our waterways and oceans is destructive – it now causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year. But adidas has found a way to turn this debris into something more constructive: shoes.

The giant sports company has collaborated with Parley for the Oceans to create a prototype shoe made from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The shoe was first revealed in June 2015 at a UN event in New York.

“The concept shoe illustrates the direction adidas and Parley for the Oceans are taking, ahead of consumer-ready ocean plastic products being revealed later this year,” adidas said at the time.

More recently, adidas has launched a 3D–printed Ocean Plastic midsole “to demonstrate how the industry can re-think design and contribute to stop ocean plastic pollution.”

“The industry can’t afford to wait for directions any longer. Together with the network of Parley for the Oceans we have started taking action and creating new sustainable materials and innovations for athletes,” the company’s Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands, Eric Liedtke, says in a press statement.

“The 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards.”

These innovations are part of the work adidas is doing with Parley for the Oceans – an organisation set up specifically to raise awareness of the state of the ocean and to collaborate on projects to protect and conserve them, which adidas also helped found.

As well as incorporating plastic waste into its designs adidas is making pledges to reduce plastic within all levels of its operations.

The company has already stopped the use of plastic bottles for meetings at its Headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and is phasing out the use of plastic bags in its retail stores.

“The phase-out has started already and will be completed by the end of Q1 2016,” adidas says on its website.

It’s also pledged to stop using microbeads in all its body care products by the end of 2015.

“adidas has long been a leader in sustainability, but this partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes,” Leidtke says.

“We invite everyone to join us on this journey to clean up the oceans.”

While adidas hasn’t yet said when the concept shoe could be available for consumers, the overwhelmingly positive response it’s received on social media suggest we will be able to buy them in the not-too-distant future.

Images: adidas concept shoe, source: adidas website; adidas recycled plastic inner sole, source: adidas on Twitter.

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