Post-Consumer Recycling | 2 MINUTE READ

Adidas Develops Shoes Made From Ocean Waste


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The amount of waste in our oceans is staggering. The United Nation Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. But instead of letting the waste simply just remain where it doesn’t belong, many companies are tapping into their innovative muscles to come up with ways to repurpose the waste into something useful. The latest example of this is from adidas. The company has created a world first with a shoe upper made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.


adidas recently showcased this first innovative footwear concept born from its collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an organization in which creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness about the disastrous state of the oceans and to collaborate on promising projects that can protect and conserve them. As founding member, adidas supports Parley for the Oceans in its education and communication efforts and its Ocean Plastic Program that aims to end plastic pollution of the oceans.


Parley partner Sea Shepherd retrieved these nets after a 110-day expedition tracking an illegal poaching vessel, which culminated off the coast of West Africa. adidas knitted the shoe in order to avoid any waste in its production.


You can’t go out and buy the shoe just yet as the concept shoe is designed to offer a first look at the kind of consumer-ready ocean plastic products that will be revealed later this year.


"At Parley for the Oceans, we want to establish the oceans as a fundamental part of the debate around climate change," said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parely for the Oceans. "Our objective is to boost public awareness and to inspire new collaborations that can contribute to protect and preserve the oceans. We are extremely proud that adidas is joining us in this mission and is putting its creative force behind this partnership to show that it is possible to turn ocean plastic into something cool."


A Fast Company article says as of now, they won't be using the tiny fragments of plastic that swirl in the ocean, but that could change as new technology becomes available.


"If you want to take it out of the ocean, you can trawl for days and days and get a tiny spoonful of plastic," Gutsch says. "At this point we didn't see a feasible technology. What we believe now is that you can instead avoid the microplastic that's coming into the system." The bigger aim of the program is not just to recycle plastic into shoes, but to help avoid plastic waste in the first place. Parley for the Oceans is working on new technology both to intercept plastic trash—and to change plastic itself.”


The shoe concept is pretty neat and it would be great to see more products made with repurposed waste on the market. Wearing recycled ocean waste on your feet is one trend we can all get behind.