Let's bear in mind that names like Nike and Adidas have huge resources that they can bring to bear onto a particular problem. If they want to crack a nut, that nut gets cracked. Many of these companies now have CEOs at the helm that see the benefit in making their supply lines more sustainable. Five years ago, notions like cradle-to-cradle would have been unknown in the boardrooms of the high street big brands. That's no longer the case.
Adidas has started up a major research project into the notion of the endlessly recyclable shoe. Working in conjunction with WRAP the project, called Sports Infinity, aims to find and develop new composites that can be used over and again to create goods that are customisable to the user's specifications. Adidas says:
“...every gram of a football boot could be broken down and recycled into a 3-D shapeable material for the next creator to mould into their dream product without the use of adhesives.”Adidas are calling this, with a wrinkle of self-awareness, "game-changing." And they're not wrong. This could have massive implications for the footballing world. Parents with growing football-mad kids would no longer have to buy and bin a new set of boots every few months. Instead they could be remodelled and recustomised. All of this done without the need for toxic chemicals.
Glenn Bennett, executive board member of global operations at Adidas, added:
“Sport Infinity is the next step in our commitment to innovation and sustainability. This project will close the sustainability loop, creating a high-performance product that can always be recycled.”Extrapolate this development up to the fashion world and you can see what a big deal Sport Infinity's innovations could potentially be. Closed-loop manufacturing would chop landfill waste numbers off at the knees and drastically drop the use of toxic nasties. The introduction of clothing that's easily customisable by the end buyer would mean a radical retink in tired old notions of seasonal ranges and sizings that don't quite work for the model-imperfect human frame. Sports technology is often an innovation pressure-cooker. Where they lead, the fashion world will follow.
Let's put it like this. If a company as big as Adidas are looking seriously at closed-loop recycling, then it's about to become the next big thing.