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Adidas Continues Its Fight Against Plastic Ocean Waste With Industry-Changing Innovation

The adidas x Parley x MLS partnership is just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the course of the last three years, MLS fans have grown familiar with the partnership between adidas and Parley for the Oceans through the annual Earth Day weekend release of eco-friendly jerseys made from yarns that are comprised of plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal areas.

The unique designs and oceanic tones of the kits — coupled with the fact that you’re supporting a cause that encourages people to decrease their dependence on single-use plastics — quickly turns them into collector’s items, and that’ll be the case again in a couple months time. 

2019 MLS x Parley kits

A selection of some of the 2019 MLS x Parley x adidas kits. 

But the Earth Day weekend threads are just one small example of what adidas and Parley are attempting to achieve together. 

Currently, adidas makes over 400 million pairs of shoes each year, and although adidas reportedly made 11 million pairs of shoes with recycled ocean plastic in 2019, the environmental impact of creating new materials for those shoes is far-reaching.

And then there’s the disheartening fact that studies estimate there’s up to 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans with billions of pounds of it found in swirling convergences that make up almost 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050. 

But adidas has prevented nearly 3,000 tons of plastic from reaching the oceans through its partnership with Parley. 

As detailed in a piece on Business Insider, Parley and its partners collect trash from coastal areas, sort it and then ship the recovered plastic to an adidas processing plant. From there it’s crushed, washed, dehydrated and transformed into small resin pellets. 

These pellets are then melted to create a filament which is spun into Ocean Plastic, a technical yarn which can be transformed into high-performance sportswear like the MLS jerseys.

Each item in the Parley collection is made from at least 75 percent intercepted marine trash, and adidas hopes to replace all virgin polyester with recycled polyester by 2024. This year, more than 50 percent of all the polyester adidas uses in products will be recycled. 

By 2021, adidas hopes to transition to more sustainable uniforms within MLS, the NHL and its Power 5 NCAA football programs. 

adidas plan to tackle plastic waste 

The adidas x Parley collection currently has one soccer-specific item for sale on the adidas website. You can grab a pair of Primeblue socks made from Ocean Plastic for just $18. Primeblue is a new performance fabric that uses 100 percent recycled polyester. 

adidas Primeblue soccer socks

There’s also a large selection of running shoes, training gear and athletic wear for sale.

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