Athletic shoemaker Adidas has teamed up with New York-based Parley for the Oceans, a multidisciplinary organization with a passion for protecting the oceans, to make footwear out of garbage. Available soon, the soft upper part of the shoe is knitted entirely from waste and debris pulled from the ocean, including yarn and fibers—just some of the estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of trash in the sea.
With no extra material left over, nothing goes to waste; the shoes also incorporate illegal fishing nets taken from poachers.
Adidas executive Eric Liedtke suggests the technology could move beyond shoes and find its way to T-shirts, shorts and other apparel. A full line of similar consumer-ready products will be integrated into the Adidas line this year.
The larger issue goes beyond recycling and repurposing to avoid waste altogether. Plastic takes more than 450 years to decompose, so conservationists and researchers at Parley for the Oceans hope to re-imagine plastics by designing a renewable solution. In cleaning up our oceans, we protect ecosystems, food sources, jobs and local economies.