Plastic is on most companies minds at the moment. After being the headline on our TVs and newspapers for the majority of 2018 and slowly but surely big corporations have started to get the hint. We’ve looked into which large organisations are stepping up to the challenge and how they are incorporating plastic into the corporate responsibility strategy.
Adidas partnership with Parley
Back in 2016, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to use recycled plastic from the ocean to make a new form of trainer. On their first run, they created a teal coloured shoe from the plastic waste and old fishing nets retrieved from the coast of Africa, which had been turned into a thread thanks to Parley’s technology.
The attempts to get the trainer wearable proved difficult. An industrial designer who works on special projects with Adidas, Alexander Taylor, said ““It was a functional shoe in that you could put it on,” however overall the shoe was too hard to be sold by the brand. When they finally got the design right, they only offered a limited collection of 50 shoes be sold.
Since 2016 and this original design, Adidas has been able to release an entire line of clothing using Parleys recycled thread. This includes multiple trainer designs, tops, shorts, swimwear and jackets. Last year, they released 7000 pairs of shoes, each containing the waste of up to 11 plastic bottles! These special, limited edition trainers were sold at $220 and sold out instantly.
Selling those limited edition shoes made Adidas over a billion dollars in revenue, thanks to the markup and with belief-driven buyers on the rise. Adidas is helping tackle one of the worlds biggest environmental problems, but it has said that it’s plastic clothing line isn’t enough. They have also pledged to use 100% recycled polyester in all of its products by 2024.
To help promote their recycled plastic wear, Adidas also partnered with a range of sports teams to create their jerseys. First, they created football kits for all 23 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. Offering the kits in two colours, non-dye and carbon, allowing for a home and away kit. Next, they partnered with the National Hockey League (NHL) to create the special edition Adizero Authentic Pro x Parley jerseys.
Coca-Cola makes a change
Coca-cola last year released a statement admitted that they were part of the plastic problem across the globe. As the company produces and markets 500 different brands of fizzy drinks, juices and water, we’d say that they may be slightly more than ‘part of the problem’.
As part of this acknowledgement, they pledged to their ‘World Without Waste’ campaign. This involves the action of recycling a used bottle or can for everyone that the company sells by 2030. As well as making all of their own products recyclable.
“The world has a packaging problem – and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it,” James Quincey, Coca-Cola chief executive.
The organisation has the idea to make their production stream a ‘circular economy’. Where the resources they use (plastic, glass and aluminium) continue to be re-used instead of simply disposed of.
Their initiative has been followed by some backlash. Greenpeace said that they should focus on reducing the amount of waste they produce instead of reusing. The Guardian said that it is “startlingly unambitious” as they create over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles a year.
Lastly, in Coca-Cola’s plastic plan, they have partnered with Ioniqa Technologies, based in the Netherlands, to facilitate the development of Ioniqa’s proprietary technology to produce high-grade, recycled PET content from hard-to-recycle PET waste.
Apple’s new case design
For the release of the iPhone 7, Apple completely redesigned the phone packaging to reduce the plastic used by a massive 84%. Apple sells over 200 million iPhones per year, all arriving in their plastic filled containers that would go straight into people’s trash. With the iPhone 7, they decided to change this for the better.
First, the removed the former two stacks of plastic trays that were used to hold the phone and the other for the charger and EyePods. This was replaced by one tray that was made from a form of paper. Next, they changed the way they wrapped the earphones. Before they were wrapped in a single-use plastic case but now they are placed in a perfectly designed hard cardboard case.
Since the corporation hired Lisa Jackson to run their environmental activities they have gone leaps and bounds in the sustainability. Including the rise in their sustainable energy. Apple has reported that 100% of its data centre power comes from solar, hydro and wind power, as well as 96% of its facilities worldwide.
They have started a campaign on Earth Day 2017 to help deforestation. Check out their video below;
Large corporations still have a long way to go to reduce their plastic waste, especially as they tend to be the ways leading the way in producing single-use plastic waste. It takes the ones at the top to make the biggest change and we are finally heading in the right direction. Once one makes a stand, the others will follow…