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Sea plastic gets a new life as trainers

Sportswear firm Adidas is helping cut ocean plastic waste by creating a new range of sports shoes that uses marine plastic debris recycled to make the fabric of the trainers and cutting new plastic from all stages of manufacture.

Launched in France at the end of May, the company’s new Ultraboost, Ultraboost X and Ultraboost Uncaged trainers reuse the equivalent of on average 11 plastic bottles per pair.

Adidas is working with pressure group Parley for the Oceans to ‘reinvent the plastic economy’ and the trainers feature laces, heel webbing, heel lining, and sock liner covers made from recycled PET material from bottles.

This month Adidas and Parley are working together for World Oceans Day on June 8 with a Run for the Oceans event from June 5 to June 11 where tens of thousands of runners are expected to join in during the week in France and around the world and log their runs on the Runtastic app.

Adidas has committed to cutting out its use of virgin plastic completely to cut plastic pollution – so no more plastic bags or micro beads – and is also making football strips from recycled plastic fabric.

However, some PET plastic is causing serious problems for the recycling industry and companies supplying milk in opaque plastic bottles will face penalties from next year as the government bids to reduce use of the PET1 material.

The plastic, which is very shiny, smooth and thinner than normal HDPE plastic, is recyclable but only in small quantities. As more supermarkets have switched to the opaque bottles they are overwhelming recycling plants where PET1 gives a lumpy end product.

While imposing the extra charge on suppliers, the government has also encouraged recycling agency Eco-Emballages to research new ways of resusing the plastic.
While it is not PET1, consumer goods company Proctor & Gamble is using recycled plastic with a new range of Head & Shoulders products coming in limited edition bottles to be launched in France this summer.

The bottles are made from plastic gathered on beaches and will involve thousands of volunteers collecting it. P&G says plastic from the marine environment is “notoriously difficult to re-use due to degradation but, working with its partners, Head&Shoulders has found a technically revolutionary way of integrating 25% of this plastic into its packaging”.

P&G aims to use 25% of recycled plastic in all its bottles for sale in Europe by 2018 – meaning its haircare brands (which also include Pantene) will use 2,600 tonnes of recycled plastic in half a billion shampoo bottles.

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