adidas, the world’s largest sportwear brand, has vowed to phase out all virgin plastic used in their shoes and sportswear in the next six years, reports the Financial Times.
“Our goal is to get rid of virgin polyester overall by 2024,” said Eric Liedtke, head of adidas’ global brands.
In 2017, adidas sold 1 million pairs of its Parley shoe, which was the first mass-produced running shoe made from recycled plastic water bottles. Fast forward to 2019, and adidas plans to sell 11 million pairs of recycled shoes this year.
While 11 million pairs of shoes seems like a huge number, it represents just 3 percent of adidas’ annual footwear production.
Recycled polyester (often made from recycled plastic bottles) is 10-20 percent more expensive than virgin polyester to produce. But industry experts say that price differential will be reduced as businesses make the shift to buying recycled materials in larger quantities.
“Prices will come down as we develop more capacity to collect, clean, and process used plastics,” said Brenda Haitema, head of supply chain operations for Thread International, which makes the recycled fabric that’s used by brands including Marmot, Timberland, and Reebok (a subsidiary of adidas.)
To see adidas flip flops made with recycled plastic, check out my post on recycled flip flops.
For more recycled shoes, check out my post on recycled shoe brands.