Adidas Will Soon Only Use Recycled Plastics in its Sneakers

Adidas has said that by 2024 it will only be using recycled plastics in its sneakers, a move it hopes will contribute to a broader trend of renewable materials in fashion.

Adidas’ spokesperson Maria Culp told the press this week that, “We aim to use 100% recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024.”

Executive board member Eric Liedtke has also announced that Adidas is seeking to make major changes within the next six months. He confirmed for the press that by 2019, stores will be stocking sportswear containing roughly 41 percent recycled polyester. The roll out to full recycled polyester will continue all the way up to 2024.

Adidas is committing to cutting out virgin plastic use in all its stores, offices, warehouses and distribution plastics.

While obviously this may exclude items that Adidas has no control over (operational items and the like), this means Adidas as a producer will attempt to shift entirely to recycled plastics, a bold move that puts the footwear giant firmly among the forerunners on recycling, particularly in the fashion industry.

Putting These Commitments in Perspective

Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world. In 2017 the sportswear giant produced about 403 million pairs  of shoes worldwide.

CNN Money estimates that shifting this considerable output to a virgin-plastics free model would save about 36 tonnes of plastic generation per year.  That’s a small but important chunk of the global plastic waste produced every year.

What’s more, Adidas and its other brands, such as Reebok, are major sports’ supporters and sponsor various big name sporting events. Adidas’ new commitment will have a kind of sympathetic effect. It will further raise the profile of sustainable footwear by putting its recycled, but still cutting-edge, shoes on the feet of major sports icons, which in turn can help shift the market toward greater sustainable practices.

Why the long timeline?

We might ask why Adidas isn’t making this switch instantly, and the reason comes down to cost.

Using recycled polyester actually results in a cost increase of about 10 to 20 percent. Because Adidas relies heavily on polyester for its products, this switch has to be gradual. An immediate change would not be cost viable.

However, because recycled product demand has been increasing in the past ten years in particular, Adidas is betting that it can leverage falling costs and increased interest in its products to minimize the impact of this switch while maximizing profits.

While ideally we might like to see the change happen overnight, Adidas has come up with a relatively quick model for change that, if it works, could be an ideal framework for other such sporting goods companies and the wider fashion market.

Adidas is Also Hoping to Push its Parlay Brand

In  2017 Adidas announced it had updated one of its classic trainers to be made entirely of recycled plastics as part of its collaboration with Parley for the Oceans. The updated EQT Support ADV sneaker made a big splash in 2017, because it was the first time that Adidas had specifically used Parley recycled plastic products for its legacy range.

It now hopes that its expanding range of recycled-material products will prove just as popular as consumers begin to see that being kind to the planet does not require us to sacrifice our love of fashion or brand loyalty.

Other big brands are similarly following suit.

This attempt to reduce plastic waste while using recycled plastics is also popping up in the home furnishings sector through brands like Ikea, and the consumables sector through giants like Starbucks–though, in that case, not as sensitively as you would hope

The Adidas announcement is good news, as it is an example of a company putting the emphasis on itself to change, rather than on trying to shift blame to consumers while not doing much at the top manufacturing level. Adidas should be commended for this commitment.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

36 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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RONALD Walker
RONALD Walker8 months ago

I am happy to hear this! The question is will the running shoe be made so it to can be recycled? Most too all the shoe are not recyclable! That to would help another problem!

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE9 months ago

When is soon? 3000?

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Noted.

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LINDA BADHAM
LINDA BADHAM9 months ago

ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS .

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Winn A
Winn Adams9 months ago

Good News!!!!!!

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Debbi W
Debbi W9 months ago

It sounds like a great idea. I hope it works out. Could be a wonderful benefit for all.

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Past Member
Past Member 9 months ago

Mmmmmmm, is to good to be true. We'll see.

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Muff-Anne Y

Good job adidas.

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