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Meet the group that helped Adidas sell a million shoes made from ocean plastic

By 2050, there’d be more plastic in the sea than fish, according to science. To help prevent this scenario from happening, Adidas made and sold a million running shoes out of ocean waste last year.

The project, which started in 2015, is a result of the company’s collaboration with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans. It involved creating pairs of shoes, including the NMD_CSI Parley Primeknit, that use 11 bottles’ worth of recycled plastic each, with the laces, heel linings, and sock liner covers all made from recycled PET.

Parley for the Oceans

Parley for the Oceans

During the line’s initial run in 2016, some 7,000 pairs were made. In the year that followed, over one million pairs were sold – hopefully a testament to consumers becoming more eco-conscious.

“Together we create trends, and trends have the power to shift thinking and behavior – sometimes even overnight. Technology and fashion are perhaps the fastest change agents there are,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, on how the Adidas brand was crucial to changing the consumer mindset.

“Comparing the conversations I had a year ago to the feedback I get today, the difference is huge. The major players – consumer brands and polluters – take us seriously. They have adopted our way of talking about sustainability.”

Parley for the Oceans

Parley for the Oceans

This year, the initiative has partnered up with water product company Soma to create a limited-edition glass water bottle and sleeve that are both made from ocean waste.

Similar to the project with Adidas, the hope here is to remove plastic from our oceans, as well as wean us off our addiction to single-use items.

“Plastic is a design flaw. We cannot fix it overnight, but we can all take steps to create change,” said Gutsch. “Shifting mindsets and behaviors is as important as creating new systems and materials. We all have a role to play. This bottle is another reminder of that fact and the beginning of a new collaboration in the movement for solutions.”

Parley for the Oceans

Parley for the Oceans

The Soma x Parley water bottles are being sold exclusively at Starbucks. To learn more about Parley for the Oceans and their work, you can head on over here.

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