Have you ever seen shoes made out of garbage? You just might’ve and never knew it!
In 2015, Adidas released shoes in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans which use recycled marine pollution as plastic. They’ve since extended this to other products such as athletic shirts, leggings, jerseys and more.
The shoes are made from plastic that is collected along our oceans’ coastlines. The garbage is then sent to Adidas, who utilize plastic waste like water bottles that contain polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make polyester fibers. They crush the plastic and break down the waste into small plastic flakes, which are then further transformed into resin pellets. This eventually creates what Adidas calls Ocean Plastic, a material that can function like polyester yarn!
The United Nations estimates within every square mile of the ocean there are 46,000 pieces of plastic. This floating debris can be dangerous for the marine life that call the water home. They may get tangled or caught in the waste, or even mistake it for food. This kills more than 1,000,000 seabirds each year! According to Business Insider, through this collaboration, Adidas has stopped 2,810 tons of plastic from entering the ocean, which is equivalent to the weight of 14 blue whales!
In removing harmful waste from our oceans to make shoes, not only does this help save marine animals, but prevents the production of even more plastic. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, meaning things like the shoes we wear might outlive us in landfills, the ocean, or other locations! By reducing our own consumption of plastic and coming up with innovative solutions like these, we can help better our planet.