Adidas Embraces Sustainability With Recycled Plastic Pledge
Adidas has made an announcement that it plans to only be using recycled plastics by 2024. Starting this year, the company will stop using virgin, or newly manufactured, plastic in its clothing, offices, retail outlets, warehouses and distribution centers. The move will save an estimated 40 tons of plastic annually, according to a statement from the company.
Adidas says that its move to recycled plastics will include polyester, which makes up about 50 percent of the material in Adidas’ products. The inexpensive material is popular among athleisure and sports clothing because it dries quickly and weighs little. Adidas spokeswoman Maria Culp wrote in a statement, “We aim to use 100% recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024.” Culp continued on to say that Adidas’ spring and summer 2019 clothing line will contain about 41 percent recycled polyester.
Governments and consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the huge environmental costs of widespread plastic use. Plastic can remain in oceans and landfills for hundreds of years, contaminating water and causing harm to wildlife. It has been estimated that there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans by 2050. The recycling rate for plastic is dismal, reaching only about 14 percent. By comparison, 58 percent of paper and up to 90 percent of iron and steel are recycled.
Adidas, the second-largest sportswear company in the world, has embraced sustainability before. In 2016, Adidas switched to using paper bags instead of plastic bags in its retail stores. The company has also released a biodegradable shoe made of fabric meant to disintegrate within hours of its disposal.
The company’s biggest venture into sustainability was its collaboration with environmental group Parley for the Oceans to develop shoes made from recycled water bottles. Adidas reportedly sold 1 million pairs of the shoes in 2017 and expects sales to rise to 5 million pairs this year.