Shoes made from plastics. Yes, you read it right. By the end of the article, you will understand how Adidas makes it possible. Adidas produces over 400 million pairs of shoes every year and requires a lot of resources.
Manufacturing that many shoes requires a lot of resources and constantly creating new resources to manufacture the shoes might be harmful to the environment. That is when Adidas switched to a new source for manufacturing the shoes.
It is predicted that in the next 30 years there will be more plastic in our oceans than the fish and it is also estimated that until now 90% of sea birds have consumed plastic in some or the other form.
The plastic pollution which is caused by the beaches is harmful both to marine and human life. Adidas has taken an initiative in letting that plastic not reach the water bodies but instead convert that into a useful source which can be used in the manufacturing units.
As a part of the initiative in 2015 Adidas partnered with an environmental organization called Parley for the Oceans which had the goal of converting marine pollution into sportswear which made progress.
As a part of this plan, Adidas expected to make 11 million pairs of shoes with recycled plastic which is double what was made in the previous year. As a part of this plan, Adidas prevented Two Thousand Eight Hundred and Ten tons of plastic from reaching the ocean.
But how are these shoes made?
The collection of the trash begins from the beaches and the coastal areas like Maldives. Parley and its partners start collecting the trash from the beaches and then it is sorted. From there the sorted and recovered plastic is sent to the Adidas Processing Plant.
Adidas uses plastic bottles that contain Polyethylene terephthalate or otherwise called the P E T. The other parts such as plastic rims and caps of the bottles which cannot be used in the Processing Plant are sent to normal recycling centers.
At the Processing Plant, the recovered plastic waste is crushed, washed, and dehydrated which leaves plastic flakes.
These plastic flakes are heated, dried, cooled, and then later cut into small resin pellets. Normally polyester is made from petroleum but what Adidas does is that they melt these pellets to create a filament which is later spun.
The filament which is spun is what they call Ocean Plastic which is a form of polyester yarn. This Ocean Plastic is used by Adidas to form the upper part of the shoes and clothing like Jerseys.
Each and every material or item which is made from the Parley collection has at least 75% of intercepted marine trash. The shoes from this collection provide the same comfort standards as any other shoes by Adidas.
The recycled polyester which is used in the manufacturing of the shoes uses less water and fewer chemicals and also helps in preventing plastic pollution. Adidas’ goal after this partnership is to replace all virgin polyester with recycled polyester by 2024.
Currently, more than 40% of Adidas apparel uses recycled polyester. The clothing which is made with ocean plastic is used in college football, baseball, the NHL, the Australian Open, and more which was not noticeable and looked like an original polyester.
But washing the polyester clothes more often results in creating microfibres which may end up in oceans again so it suggests its customers to wash them less often, use cold water and fully fill the washing machine at each wash.
But for Adidas, this is just the beginning. It is creating a 100% recyclable shoe which is called the Future craft Loop which is a shoe made to be remade and is expected to be available in the year 2021.
The brand’s partnership with Parley for the Oceans is using all the readily available materials for the manufacturing of new products which is indeed a big step towards a sustainable future.