In the famous film The Graduate, released in 1967, Mr. McGuire takes our protagonist aside and says: “I just want to say one word to you, just one word… plastics.”
It was a quirky little moment in a quirky little film, but today that line seems prophetic and maybe slightly disturbing, knowing what we know. What was a wonder material that checked so many boxes for manufacturers – cheap, strong, malleable, durable, lightweight and so much more – has become an environmental blight. Its ubiquity has overrun us and turned this industrialist’s dream into a murderous toxin that marches forward getting bigger and meaner with every soda bottle, drinking straw or snack wrapper that accrues in the world’s oceans. Today we find ourselves faced with managing a dilemma we didn’t expect. It wasn’t thought through or perhaps it was just innocent ignorance, but our oceans and its inhabitants are now paying the price. So what to do?
From where we sit, an organization dependent upon the world’s waterways, we proselytize, beg and/or advocate whenever and wherever we can. We support groups and companies that have an interest in the mitigation of harmful plastics polluting the earth and keep an eye out for those who have good ideas. And the good news is they’re out there.
Here’s a case in point. One day we heard about Adidas introducing a new boat shoe to their line of footwear called the Terrex Climacool that was made using “recycled waste, intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before it reaches the ocean.” The shoe was made in partnership with a company called Parley that pushes and facilitates influencers and companies to evoke change. As they put it, to: “Synchronize the economic system of humankind with the ecosystem of nature.”
Adidas has since created other shoes using plastic waste converted into fibers, one of which has a chip in the heel of the right shoe that you can scan with your mobile phone to follow the story of the shoe from plastic bottle to final product and to learn what you can do to help protect the oceans.
We wondered if there were enough apparel companies out there to dress a person in clothing made from recycled plastics and indeed there were… easily.