The world has a massive waste problem. As a whole Americans throw away 68 lbs of clothing per person. In 2014 so many freaking K-Cups (from Keurig Coffee) were thrown away that you could create a chain of them that would circle the earth 10.5 times. That's in one year!
That's why Adidas new shoe design is so cool. Last summer Adidas teamed up with Parley for the Oceans and The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to release a prototype from a shoe made at least in part from recycled plastic and deep-sea gillnets (you know, those awful nets that trap whales, turtles and dolphins). The design combines elements from two major ocean threats in its construction: plastic and gillnet fishing or deep sea trawling.
Researchers estimate that a shocking 4.8 billion metric tons of plastic end up in the Earth’s oceans each year. Deep-sea nets are illegal in many countries, and are made of very fine twine, are designed to catch fish by their gills.
To combing the two into a shoe, Adidas is working to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our environment.
But it gets better: Adidas didn't just source the plastic from some shady third party supplier. Instead it teamed up with The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who retrieved the basic materials that went into the top of the shoe.
On a 110-day expedition, they collected plastic from the depths and confiscated gillnets from an illegal fishing boat that they tracked down off the west coast of Africa, as Kate Sierzputowski writes for This is Colossal. Recycled plastic went into the upper shoe structure, and threads from the green nets were knitted into the top to create a colorful accent. For a shoe made from garbage, it's got a pretty banging design.
Just when you thought it couldn't get better, it does. You may have noticed that the conversation revolved around the upper part of the shoe. Well 6 months after unveiling the 'upper' part, Adidas and Parley were back at it creating a 3D printed ocean plastic sole to make the entire shoe recycled. Could you be any more excited?!?!
A spokeswoman for Adidas though told the HuffPo that there were no plans to sell the shoes just yet. “This is not a plan, this is an action,” she said. “We did this to show what we are capable of doing when we all put our heads together.”
Still, the company will begin incorporating recycled plastic into its shoes this quarter and it is almost complete in phasing out plastic bags from all of its stores (also by the end of Q1). So, while you can't get a pair yet, it's clear that Adidas is on the verge of some pretty cool earth saving breakthroughs.
Moral of the Story: While science and technology is amazing, we can't rely on it to save our seas just yet. We all need to cut down our waste.