Spinning the problem into a solution. The threat into thread.

Plastic waste has become a major problem. It is getting to the stage where there is a daily news story about plastic waste damaging the environment, killing animals, and even polluting our bodies. Luckily the tide is turning, and most businesses and brands are starting to take sustainability more seriously and are becoming more aware of their environmental impact. However, some have realised there is a space in the market to be eco-efficient.

Adidas has long been committed to the fight against single-use plastics. Since 2015, it has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to respond to the plastic pollution crisis threatening marine life. Since then, they have unveiled a range of trainers that have been produced with recycled plastic.

The trainers were developed using the brand’s existing manufacturing process, but replaced the yarns with fibres made from waste plastic and fishing nets.

This revolutionary product development has allowed Adidas to use a global issue as a catalyst to increase sales, demonstrate their sustainability model, and develop brand satisfaction and loyalty. Luckily for Adidas fans they didn’t stop at trainers; playing kits were next to be innovated.

Fortunately for Adidas, they could rely on their affiliated footballing giants, such as Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and all 23 MLS teams to promote the launch of their latest ‘performance technology meets eco-innovation’ playing kits, pushing innovation even further than ever before and producing kits that set new standards in sustainability.

It is clear that there is still more to come, as they continue branching into new sports, and onto new playing fields. “Defenders Of The Deep” has been one of their latest campaigns, which has seen them collaborate with The University of Miami’s collegiate American football team; emphasising their joint dedication to minimising their environmental impact, and proving Adidas is committed to increasing the use of eco-innovative materials.

Now that other brands and companies have seen the potential of using this problem as a means to better their own performance, the USP of being eco-efficient, saving the ocean, or being made out of recycled plastic is starting to be used more and more.

For example PlayerLayer have been able to create their own eco efficient product, EcoLayers (Women’s Leggings), and position themselves as an Eco-aware company. They have even adapted their slogan to ‘One Earth, One Team, Belong’.

Alternatively, and far away from sports clothing, (but a little closer to Banana Kick), a West Yorkshire car park took the initiative to take plastic as payment throughout October (and that’s not referring to card payments). CitiPark at the Merrion Centre in Leeds offered the promotion of free or discounted parking to their customers; all they had to do was trade a plastic bottle for a 20p voucher. Once collected, the plastic was destined to be recycled into usable items such as shirts, toys and even chairs (or maybe Adidas’s next pair of trainers…). This clever little scheme was recognised as a success, and a win-win all round when you consider the benefit to the customers, businesses, and the planet!

To Conclude

It is clear that our use of plastic has become a huge talking point; it is affecting everyone and everything, there is no denying it.

“Up to 12.7m tonnes of plastic end up in the seas every year and of the 8.3bn tonnes of plastic produced worldwide since the 1950s, only 9% has been recycled.”

Everyone, and every business, has a part to play in being sustainable and eco-efficient, there is no getting away from it! It just depends if you see it as a threat or as an opportunity to do something special.

Clearly Adidas have set a precedent here, and its no surprise that they announced sales of one million pairs of trainers in 2017, each made with 11 recycled plastic bottles found in the ocean! Well played!


Written by Bradley Freeman