Awareness of how polluted our oceans have become, of ways and products to decrease the use of single-use plastics, and innovative companies that are cleaning up the oceans with new methods, equipment and purpose, all contribute to solving a serious and complex problem. The question is: is the ecological disaster of ocean pollution already insurmountable?

We remain far from cleaning up our oceans. The decline of marine life has led to predictions of the end of the commercial fishing industry within a decade or so. At the rate we’re going, ocean pollutant plastics will exceed the amount of marine life. And there isn’t a beach in the world without microplastics.

But there are solutions, one of which has recently risen to the fore by the announcement of leading sportswear manufacturer Adidas’s introduction of a line of shoes and apparel made from recycled ocean plastic.

The collection came about via Parley for the Oceans, a think tank of creativity and science. As Parley says on its website: “We believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer – given we all have a choice – and the power to shape this new consumer mindset lies in the hands of the creative industries.”

Among those creatives are artists, musicians, filmmakers, architects, actors, fashion designers and scientists whom Parley’s founder Cyrill Gutsch puts on a par with creatives.

German-based Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest in the world, lending high-profile exposure to Adidas x Parley, the official collaboration that turned plastic ocean trash into athletic wear through the Parley AIR program. AIR stands for Avoid, Intercept and Redesign, a three-pronged approach to using less plastic, reducing the amount in the ocean, and reusing plastic waste.

In the case of Adidas x Parley, plastic ocean waste goes through a number of processes, ultimately producing pellets that are melted into filament. The filament was then used by Adidas to manufacture a line of athletic wear from high-performance shoes to yoga wear.

Not to make light of ocean pollution by plastics, what comes to mind with this extraordinary innovation is the 42ndof the top 100 movie quotations according to the American Film Institute.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

It seems there is a future in plastics after all but one entirely different from the vision of the 1967 film “The Graduate”. Just ask Adidas which, by the latest count, is manufacturing 11 million of their new, plastic fiber athletic shoes.

To learn more about Parley for the Oceans, log on here:

To learn more about the Adidas x Parley collaboration as well as see and shop the collection, log on here:

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Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services