Adidas announced Monday that it will transition to exclusively using recycled plastics in all its clothing and shoes by 2024, the Financial Times reported. The sportswear company will stop using “virgin” plastic — newly manufactured plastic — and newly produced polyester, often used in moisture-wicking clothing.
Over the next few years, Adidas will phase plastic out of millions of items, ranging from shoes to shirts. The move is the latest of the sportswear company’s sustainability efforts.
Adidas has been experimenting with using recycled plastics in its products since 2012, when the company partnered with London designer Stella McCartney to create uniforms for the British Olympic Team. The uniforms were made from half a million recycled plastic bottles.
In November 2016, the sportswear company made waves with the release of its Parley line of sportswear and shoes made from recycled plastics collected near the Maldives. Since its launch, Adidas has sold 1 million pairs of Parley shoes and aims to sell 5 million by the end of 2018 and more than double that figure the following year, according to the Financial Times.
The company’s push to reduce its polyester production in addition to its plastic production is significant as “any polyester fabric presents a lot of problems in terms of aftercare,” Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashionrevolution.org, an NGO that campaigns for a sustainable fashion industry, told the the Financial Times. "[Polyester] sheds microfibres, which are the greatest cause of plastics pollution in the oceans.”
Adidas will also ban the use of virgin plastics in its offices, retail outlets, warehouses, and distribution centers, according to CNN, which could save about 40 tons of plastic annually.
The BBC estimates that at the current rate of recycling, incineration, and landfill accumulation of plastics, 12 billion tons of plastic will be in landfills by 2050.
Adidas isn’t the only company that has amped up its push to go green recently. Several companies turned away from using plastic this year, some in response to an EU proposal to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030. The proposal reflects mounting pressure from consumers for companies to take responsibility for plastic production and the world’s plastic disposal problem.