In 2017, adidas produced one million pairs of shoes containing recycled plastic waste. In 2018, that number jumped to five million, and the company now plans to produce 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic in 2019.
As an outcome of a cooperation between the sporting goods manufacturer and the environmental organization and global collaboration network Parley for the Oceans, plastic waste is intercepted on beaches, such as the Maldives, before it reaches the oceans. The waste is made into a yarn becoming a key component of the upper material of adidas footwear.
In 2016, adidas released the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoe - the first mass-produced footwear created using plastic waste retrieved by clean-up operations in the Maldives (95 percent) and recycled polyester (five percent). Each pair reuses 11 plastic bottles.
In addition to footwear, the company also produces apparel from the recycled material, such as the Champions League jersey for FC Bayern Munich and Alexander Zverev’s outfit for the Australian Open.
Recently, adidas signed the Climate Protection Charter for the Fashion Industry at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, and agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. In addition, adidas is committed to using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024. As a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative, adidas meanwhile sources only sustainably produced cotton. Since 2016, adidas stores no longer use plastic bags.
Where the use of plastics – for example in transport packaging – is still unavoidable, adidas is relying on counter-balancing measures and promoting sustainable alternatives. The company is currently supporting the global innovation platform Fashion for Good with a donation of €1.5 million which equates to the company’s environmental impact of plastic packaging. The foundation is driving the development of innovative, durable and reusable materials for the fashion industry. adidas has been a partner of the foundation since the beginning of 2018.