Out in the Pacific Ocean, there is a massive collection of garbage slowly whirling about that is twice the size of Texas. While the large majority of it stays in the whirlpool, there is plenty of other trash in the oceans of the world that is simply floating about until it finds a bit of land to perch on. Now, it’s being eyed as a source of recyclable plastic that can be turned into consumer products people want and love. Such as sneakers and running shoes.
adidas is using that garbage in a new shoe design concept that recycles ocean waste for use in its soles and other parts. In a partnership with ocean protection group Parley for the Oceans, the German athletic wear giant is harnessing old fishnets and recycled polyester to create 3D-printed midsoles.
The big reveal of the new shoes came during the COP21 Paris climate change summit that is now wrapping up in Paris, where adidas met with delegates to showcase its innovative eco-footwear concept with its partners at Parley.
Last month, a group of adidas employees also attended the Parley Ocean School, a unique program that blends ocean activism with experiential learning and activities in a marine environment. From beach cleanups to meeting environmental and sustainability experts, adidas employees learned about the state of the oceans and who they can contribute.
“It’s very exciting what we can do just by getting involved since April,” Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group executive board member responsible for global brands, told Women’s Wear Daily at COP21. “As far as commercial timing, we don’t know about that yet. It’s more a statement of intent of what we hope to do and a challenge for us to make it.”
While the process of bringing that one to market is still in the tinkering phase, adidas has announced the date for a shoe it announced earlier this year that also uses ocean waste in its design. It will hit about 1,000 adidas stores worldwide in April, WWD notes. That is the same month the brand will phase out plastic bags from its retail stores, taking 28 million plastic bags out of circulation.
Find out more about how adidas approaches sustainable product design below: