Adidas: The Sustainability Promise

Adidas has recently made a claim that by 2024, they will be using 100% recycled plastic. In the race for companies to prove how they are contributing to creating a clean planet while paying workers fairly and donating excess revenue to amazing philanthropies, Adidas has taken, as Armstrong would say, “One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind,” and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

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What does this mean?

Adidas will no longer use “virgin plastic” such as polyester, which has been an extremely popular type of material in sportswear due to it’s lightweight and fast-drying properties. However, apparel is not the only place Adidas is going to implement this promise—their offices are going green, too! By removing all of the virgin plastics from their warehouses, distribution centers, offices, etc., the company estimates that about 40 tons of plastic will be saved PER YEAR. This is an extremely invigorating statistic for someone who hates statistics (seriously, I should be studying for my statistics final right now).

How do they plan to reach this goal?

Adidas has already replaced its plastic bags with paper ones in retail stores. In addition to that, the apparel lines for spring and summer of 2019 will be made of about 41% of recycled polyester. Adidas also expects sales on their Parley shoes, which are made from plastic waste, to jump from 1 million pairs sold in 2017 to 5 million pairs by the end of 2018. By intercepting this plastic before it reaches the turtles, and turning it into a fashionable product that people want to buy and wear, I can’t help but smile. This is exactly why retail exists: To make people happy about the products they find, while keeping our Earth happy while doing so.

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Adidas is not the only company that has taken the time to rethink their business goals, but I couldn’t be more ecstatic that they chose to take on the everlasting plastic battle. According to CNN, global plastic waste has increased 20-fold over the past 50 years and is expected to double again in the next 20 years. In fact, it is expected that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the ocean.

Is this really how we want to treat a world that has been so kind to us?

Compared to the reuse-rate of other products like paper (58%) and iron and steel (90%), plastic is only reused 14% of the time. Now, this is a less-favorable statistic. Kristin Brodde, head of “Detox My Fashion” at Greenpeace agreed that Adidas’ announcement is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough to address the waste endemic to the fashion industry.

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However, it is these baby steps that will ultimately allow us to achieve total green goals in this ever-changing world. We cannot simply wake up one day and decide to flip a switch toward total sustainability, but by continually rethinking business plans and seeing what goals we can work toward each day, total sustainability can become a possibility, and I truly cannot wait until that day.

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