As scientists and engineers are figuring out how to get the huge amounts of trash out of the ocean, another problem to figure out is what to do with it all once it has been collected.
Apparently, creating shoes is one thing that we can do with it. Adidas has released a prototype for a shoe woven entirely out of trash found in the ocean. This particular shoe was made from gill nets that were illegally left in the ocean that were then collected by Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit aimed at defending sea life.
“It’s a fishing net that was spanning the bottom of the sea like a wall, and killing pretty much every fish passing by,” said Cyrill Gutsch, the founder of a new nonprofit called Parley for the Oceans, in an interview with FastCoexist. Parley for the Oceans is being supported by Adidas. “They confiscated this net, and we’re bringing it back to life.”
The women’s shoe was created by Adidas using the same technology that it uses to create its Primeknit shoe, which produces zero waste.
“Knitting in general eliminates waste, because you don’t have to cut out the patterns like on traditional footwear,” said Eric Liedtke, executive board member of global brands at Adidas. “We use what we need for the shoe and waste nothing.”
The shoe is not just a prototype, however, with Adidas planning on launching the line later this year. The company says that it will focus on easy-to-reach fishing net and beach trash for now, and that it will, unfortunately, have no trouble finding enough material for the line. Of course, as time goes on and technology changes, the company could venture farther into the ocean to find plastic, such as in the Pacific Gyre, an area of slowly moving warm subtropical air and spiraling currents that often is where trash ends up collecting, where someone could trawl for plastic for days and only turn up a teaspoon of plastic because of how small fragments are.
Of course, eventually, it would be great to not have enough material to create the shoes. The larger goal of the project is not just to recycle trash, but to help create awareness about avoiding plastic waste in the first place.
A chemist within the organization is working on a plastic that would dissolve if thrown out into nature, potentially eliminating the problems that come with plastic altogether.
Adidas says that as it adapts the material, it may be able to implement it into other products, such as T-shirts and other clothing.