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"I know this is the start of something very special," said Bayern Munich midfielder, Xabi Alonso. Photo: Adidas

“I know this is the start of something very special,” said Bayern Munich midfielder, Xabi Alonso. Photo: Adidas


The Inertia

German sportswear behemoth Adidas has teamed up Parley and European soccer giants Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to raise awareness of our need to protect the world’s oceans. Both teams wore kits made from plastic waste gathered from around the Maldives for one-off games this month.

The kits, constructed of yarns from reclaimed and recycled ocean waste, will carry the tag line “For The Oceans” and are available to purchase from Adidas.

“Wearing a kit that is made from recyclable ocean waste is something I’m very happy about as it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about the need to protect and preserve our oceans,” said Bayern Munich midfielder, Xabi Alonso. “I know this is the start of something very special.”

And Alonso could be right. The soccer kit industry generates ludicrous revenue for clubs and billions of dollars for sportswear manufacturers like Adidas. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich alone sold nearly 3.8 million shirts in 2016. That’s a lot of plastic bottles.

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Further good news is that the Adidas x Parley collaboration isn’t a one-off. Adidas have released a running shoe called the “Ultraboost” and they claim that each pair uses 11 plastic bottles which have been upcycled from ocean waste. They have initially made 7,000 pairs of Ultraboost but are committed to making 1 million pairs by the end of 2017.

Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands, said:

“This represents another step on the journey of adidas and Parley for the Oceans. But we won’t stop there. We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017 – and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain.”

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The thought of 11 million pieces of plastic waste being removed from our oceans is incredible, whether you are a surfer or not. And it’s impressive to see this sort of commitment from a company like Adidas with the support of global soccer icons.

It’s a shame that more brands in the surf industry can’t catch on. After all, we benefit from the ocean more than most. Yet still we mostly ride around on top of foam and plastics, and wrap ourselves in rubbers and nylons produced by harmful chemical processes.

Come to think of it, I wonder how much of the plastic collected from around the Maldives was detritus resulting from surf tourism?

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