They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Adidas heartily concurs, proudly announcing recently that they’ve sold a whopping one million pairs of shoes made from reclaimed ocean plastic in 2017.
Adidas, you might recall, formed a partnership with Parley for the Oceans a couple of years ago. The plan was simple enough: harvest plastic garbage, shred it and turn it into PET thread, and then knit shoes out of the thread.
What started as a single pair of Adidas x Parley shoes has grown into an entire section of its own on the Adidas shop. Head over today, and you’ll find more than 100 different items listed, and there’s way more than just shoes. Adidas now offers shirts, hoodies, leggings, and all kinds of other apparel made from ocean plastic fiber.
The company’s commitment to Parley is clearly paying off, both in terms of sales and environmental impact. A single pair of shoes makes use of the plastic from 11 discarded bottles. Multiply that by the 1 million sold last year, and that’s a whole lot of reclaimed plastic removed from the ocean for a single manufacturer’s goods.
Adidas isn’t alone, of course. Parley has numerous other irons in the fire. G-Star Raw and Stella McCartney have both partnered with Parley on clothing lines. Soma is using the same plastic thread to make insulating sleeves for water bottles. Parley is also working with Corona to clean up 100 of the world’s beaches by 2020.
Hopefully, other companies will follow their lead. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do if we want to clean up the oceans. In fact, a recently-published study reported that the Pacific Garbage Patch is actually between 4 and 16 times larger than previously estimated. Tackling a problem that size is going to require a concerted global effort.