Adidas is arguably one of the greatest footwear manufacturers of all time. Every year, Adidas manufactures over 400 million shoes. With this kind of production in mind, Adidas is turning to a unique source of raw materials.
Adidas partnered with environmental conservationists Parley for the Oceans back in 2015 for a line of footwear, and the Adidas-Parley line is continuing to grow into 2019. Each one of these shoes contain 12 plastic bottles worth of ocean waste, with some material coming from discarded fishing nets. Adidas says that it plans to make all of its products with recycled plastics recycled from the ocean before 2024.
This year, the company is planning to make 11-million pairs of shoes using recycled ocean plastic, or double what it made in 2018. The partnership with Parley for the Oceans has prevented 2,810 tons of plastic from reaching the open water. Trash is first collected from coastal areas, like the Maldives, before it’s sorted and then sent to an Adidas processing plant. The plastic bottles that contain polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used by Adidas and everything else is sent to normal recycling facilities.
Plastic bottles that contain PET are broken down into plastic flakes, then cut into small resin pellets. These pellets are melted to create a filament, which is spun into what Adidas calls Ocean Plastic. This Ocean Plastic is a replacement for virgin polyester. Each item in the Parley collection is made of at least 75% recycled plastic. Adidas is also developing a 100% recyclable shoe called Futurecraft Loop, which is expected to be available in 2021.