World Environmental Day: Nike pushes use of recycled materials in their apparels and foot wares

Recycled Poly Jersey

According to the World Economic Forum, Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean. The waste crisis is expected to rise to 60 tons per minute by the year 2050.

The Development of human species comes at a cost of tampering with the environment.The surge in production of different items leads to the creation of chaos in Waste management of plastic.

Nike Shoe

China is hosting this year’s World Environment Day and the focus is on beating the pollution. The damage is done by the customers so, the responsibility is also on us to fix these issues. Everyone can start by buying smartly from companies and brands that have environmental sustainability initiatives in place, and makes an effort in developing a sustainable development model. Worldwide Recognized Brand Nike is a prime example of an apparel and footwear brand that is utilizing the latest manufacturing technology to reduce the carbon footprint on the environment.

Noel Kinder, Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer, in a blog post says that “At Nike, we know that the future of the sport is interlocked with the future of our planet earth. Without fresh air and clean water, our athletes can’t do well. Without stable climates and healthy ecosystems, they can’t push to reach their full potential”.

There are several Companies who are pushing for a business model which can produce good profits while still maintaining a low carbon footprint on the environment. According to Nike, 99.9 percent of finished footwear manufacturing waste in Q4 2018 was recycled by them for further use, or converted to energy. Mark Parker, CEO, Nike said that “We also heeded the science of climate change, seeing the global threat it could pose to our athletes. Without clean air, how do we run or even play?”.

Nike is doing all the recycled work under the project “Grind”. Nike uses this project as a way of recycling surplus manufacturing materials and athletic footwear in new footwear, apparel, and even outdoor playing surfaces. The project grind covers scraps of rubber, foam, leather, textile, and plastic. According to the data shared by the Nike officials, Nike has managed to recycled and reused 120 million pounds of surplus materials. This number is huge for comparison this is approximately the same quantity to fill 700 jumbo jet aircraft completely. Nike even manages to recycle 30 million pairs of sports shoes, For comparison, if lined up, it could circumnavigate the earth over five times.

These numbers do matter when you consider that Last year, Nike and Converse branded footwear consisted of more than 3 million pounds of reused rubber. In order to make these millions of apparels and shoes, a million-pound quantity of textiles is to be made for the users. Many retailers are following the sustainability path and companies are using recycled material in their mannequins and modular display blocks, the wall, shelving displays, flooring and even seating in their glamorous showrooms.

Nike and many other companies are making an effort but still, a lot of plastic dumps is destroying the marine ecosystem of our planet. According to the numbers provided by the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and this waste crisis is expected to rise to 60 tons per minute by the year if this rate of plastic usage is maintained. Nike official explains that their efforts helped to divert more than 51 million pounds of waste materials globally between May 2016 to 2017. Nike has also used 4 billion discarded plastic bottles for its products. Nike used recovered and reprocessed materials from various places that include rubber, foam, fiber, leather and textile blends. These are then separated and grind into granules for use again.

Many marine species are pushed to the edge of extinction due to Microfibers pollutants in the oceans. Microfiber fabrics are made up of fibers that are approximate 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. An Environmental Science & Technology journal study says that one item of clothing can produce more than 1,900 microfibers in just one wash cycle. The World Economic Forum explains that these minuscule fibers travel through water pipes and enters oceans and rivers. These fiber pollutants than gets consumed by sea animals. These fibers are harmless for Humans and they can drink water polluted with microplastics and even eat fish who have microplastics in their bodies but for the marine species, it is fatal.

The efforts of Nike doesn’t stop at the recycling processes, they knew in order to preserve the marine ecosystem they have to save water as well. Generally at the time of processing of dyeing the fabric consumes as much as 100-150 liters of water for every kilogram of textiles used in the process of manufacturing. Nike, in order to reduce their water consumption, has opted for a water-free color dyeing technology called ColorDry this is developed by a Dutch company DyeCoo. The Dutch company also refers to the development of Flyknit material used in shoes which helps reducing waste by 60% compared to a traditional running shoe. A Nike Spokesperson said that “All the core yarn for Flyknit shoes is now made from 100% recycled polyester. We(Nike) invented a new process for Flyknit constructed in a 360-degree form, it helps in creating less waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods,” these statements were made during the Q3 2018 earnings call.

It’s up to the consumers on which product to buy but if given preference to brands like Nike while purchasing may help initiate a narrative into the mindset of companies to push for a more sustainable development production model.