Tackling the eco blight of plastic at sea has become an ocean of opportunity for aquatic entrepreneurs including Adidas who are set to launch their Adidas Ocean Shoe
The problem of plastic debris floating on the surface of the world’s oceans has been a blight on the human conscience since American surfer, scientist and sea captain Charles J Moore discovered the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ in 1997.
Happily, it would seem that 2016 may be the year that eco-minded innovators tackle the plastic problem – 5.25 trillion pieces of it, weighing 269,000 tonnes, according to non-profit advocacy group 5 Gyres – head-on.
First up there’s Seabin, from Australian marine tech duo Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton. Made from recycled plastic, it sucks debris into a natural fibre bag, which is pulled from the water and emptied intermittently.
Then there’s the Ocean Cleanup Project, founded by 21-year-old Dutchman Boyan Slat, which plans to deploy a revolutionary floating dam that uses currents to remove plastic waste for recycling.
It’s not just upstart young innovators and activists getting in on the act, though. In partnership with eco awareness-raiser Parley for the Oceans, sports manufacturer Adidas has come up with the Ocean Plastic shoe, a trainer that’s 3D printed using recycled polyester and gillnet content all plucked from the sea.
“The 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards if we start questioning the reason for what we create,” said Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group executive board member responsible for global brands. “We want to create sustainable solutions for big global problems.”
With the shoe due to hit shelves in the first half of this year, is the seeking of viable commercial opportunities in tackling man-made problems now truly becoming the new CSR? It’s a discussion that will surely run and run.