Levi & Adidas are cleaning up the oceans

March 12, 2015

It’s a sight many of us have witnessed strolling along the Thames estuary, washed up fishing nets on the beach, often dragging other trash along with it, plastic bottles, chewed tennis balls thrown a little too far for Fido to fetch, along with the occasional shopping trolley, lost flip-flop, or WW2 hand-grenade.

What’s to be done? Upcycle the nets to fashion some kind of woven rope a’la The Island with Bear Grylls? Hire a Miami Vice-esque speedboat patrol to keep an eagle-eye on the coast? Well, some companies have decided to do their part by using some of the 640,000 tons of “ghost nets” currently floating around our oceans to fashion some, er, fashion.

Two such companies are clothing behemoths Levi Strauss & Co. and Adidas, who have both recently created products using recycled fishing nets. German sporting giant Adidas have made a prototype concept shoe out of nets confiscated from a poaching vessel off the West African coast by conservation group Sea Shepherd. Created using a zero-waste knitting technique, the trainer is part of the Parley for the Oceans Initiative, a project which Adidas co-founded to raise ocean pollution awareness, and while not commercially available yet, could provide future joggers with a convenient excuse for smelly feet.

Denim overlords Levi’s offering is in collaboration with Italian nylon manufacturer Aquafil, who make Econyl (also known as polyamide), a material composed of 100% nylon waste materials. The synthetic material is incorporated into Levi’s 522 jeans, at a 38% Econycl ratio. With the current crisis in cotton production due to lack of growing space, the future could have us all strutting around in repurposed and recycled trash from our oceans, just so long as it’s given a rinse first, lest we all look like Swamp Thing or Old Gregg.


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